Majority of New HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B Cases Are Found in Immigrants Coming to Live in Britain

Jenny Hope, Daily Mail (London), December 21, 2011

High rates of tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B are found in migrants coming to live as long-term residents in Britain, according to a report.

Three-quarters of tuberculosis cases reported in Britain last year were born abroad, with many diagnosed two or more years after their arrival.

Almost two-thirds of newly diagnosed cases of HIV and 80 per cent of hepatitis B infected blood donors in 2010 were born abroad.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) report says 12 per cent of people living in Britain in 2010 were born abroad–up from 8 per cent in 2001.

‘A small proportion of the non-UK born residents bear the greatest burden of infectious disease reported in the UK,’ it says.

The report found that half of migrants with newly diagnosed HIV had probably become infected in Britain.

Migrants going back to visit family and friends are the ‘main risk group’ for infections such as malaria and enteric fever diagnosed in Britain, it reports.

Almost two-thirds of malaria cases reported here last year and 87 per cent of enteric fever cases were among migrants who travelled abroad to visit friends and relatives, said the agency.

Dr Jane Jones, head of the travel and migrant section at HPA, said: ‘The majority of non-UK born residents do not have infectious disease but some are at higher risk than UK-born residents because of their exposures and their life experiences prior to, during and after migration.

‘It is important to remember that risk to non-UK born residents does not end on arrival in the UK,’ she added.

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