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Higher disease rates in migrants

15th November 2006

15052006_aids1.jpgA new report has revealed around 70 per cent of TB, HIV and malaria cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are from migrants.

The Health Protection Agency, in its first report into the health of migrants, found there was little evidence to suggest the general population faced any increased risk.

But the agency warned the need to put this into context: the figures related to only a small percentage of people not born in the UK and most migrants did not have these diseases.

An estimated 1,500 migrants arrived every day to live in the UK in 2005.

The agency said the infections were often more common in the countries people migrated from and were often infected before they left or when returning to visit. Most of the UK’s migrants come from Europe, South Asia and Africa.

The report said, while there appeared to be no increased risk in the general UK population, UK-born ethnic communities did have a higher risk because of their links to countries where infections were common.

The agency has yet to recommend routine screening of migrants, because of lack of evidence, but has put forward a range of recommendations including better monitoring, awareness and support.

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