Tuberculosis among migrant populations in the European Union and the European Economic Area

Eur J Public Health. 2015 Jun;25(3):506-12. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku208. Epub 2014 Dec 13.


Background: Although tuberculosis (TB) incidence has been decreasing in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in the last decades, specific subgroups of the population, such as migrants, remain at high risk of TB. This study is based on the report 'Key Infectious Diseases in Migrant Populations in the EU/EEA' commissioned by The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Methods: We collected, critically appraised and summarized the available evidence on the TB burden in migrants in the EU/EEA. Data were collected through: (i) a comprehensive literature review; (ii) analysis of data from The European Surveillance System (TESSy) and (iii) evidence provided by TB experts during an infectious disease workshop in 2012.

Results: In 2010, of the 73,996 TB cases notified in the EU/EEA, 25% were of foreign origin. The overall decrease of TB cases observed in recent years has not been reflected in migrant populations. Foreign-born people with TB exhibit different socioeconomic and clinical characteristics than native sufferers.

Conclusion: This is one of the first studies to use multiple data sources, including the largest available European database on infectious disease notifications, to assess the burden and provide a comprehensive description and analysis of specific TB features in migrants in the EU/EEA. Strengthened information about health determinants and factors for migrants' vulnerability is needed to plan, implement and evaluate targeted TB care and control interventions for migrants in the EU/EEA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • European Union
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult