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ECDC report shows how migrants in the EU are affected by infectious diseases

21 May 2014

​The report ‘Assessing the burden of infectious diseases among migrant populations in the EU/EEA’, finds that at a population level most migrants are healthy, and are only more affected by certain diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

For example, migrants represented 40% of reported cases of HIV in the EU/EEA between 2007 and 2011, with growing evidence that some migrant populations are at risk of acquiring HIV infection after arrival in the EU/EEA.

Compared to native-born persons, migrants in the EU are also diagnosed with HIV later and show a poorer clinical outcome. Migrants in many settings across Europe face legal, administrative, cultural and linguistic barriers when they try to get tested for HIV. Which is why more efforts are needed across Europe to achieve a better uptake of testing among this group and address the difference in late diagnosis observed compared to non-migrants.

Although migrant populations are also more affected by TB, with 25% of cases in 2010 occurring among migrants, the report finds that these populations do not increase the risk of TB among native populations. Available data also suggests that multidrug-resistant TB is less common in migrants and that TB disease occurs at a younger age when compared to non-migrants.

This is the first comprehensive report on the burden of infectious diseases among migrants in the EU/EEA that covers; HIV, TB, hepatitis B and C, gonorrhoea, syphilis, measles and rubella, malaria and Chagas disease, taking data from the European Surveillance System.
The report highlights the need for better data collection and more research to improve understanding of the epidemiology of infectious diseases among migrants in Europe, and ECDC is currently developing a project which will support Member States with this.

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