New data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe show that an estimated 340,000 Europeans had tuberculosis (TB) in 2014, corresponding to a rate of 37 cases per 100,000 people.
Although new TB cases decreased by 4.3% on average between 2010 and 2014, high rates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB and TB in vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, drug and alcohol abusers and migrants from countries with high numbers of cases of TB continue to challenge TB elimination.
A quarter of all 480,000 patients with MDR-TB globally were in the European Region in 2014.
The risk that migrants and refugees will be infected or develop TB depends on several factors, including the TB rates in the country of origin. In the Syrian Arab Republic, for example, the rate of new TB cases is 17 per 100,000 population, which is less than half the European Region average of 37. In addition, as TB is not easily transmitted and contacts are limited, there is a low risk that migrants will transmit the disease to resident populations.
The European Region is the only one in the world with a consensus document on the minimum package of cross-border TB control and care interventions. These include ensuring access to medical services, irrespective of a migrant’s registration status, and a non-deportation policy until intensive TB treatment has been completed.
To read the ECDC-WHO report on Tuberculosis surveillance and monitoring in Europe 2015, on the euro.who.int website
To download the Systematic screening for active tuberculosis guide, on the who.int website