[Tuberculosis and AIDS in labor migrants in Israel--are we really facing a new challenge?]. Academic Article uri icon


  • Israel has absorbed labor migrants (LM), mostly originating from developing countries endemic for tuberculosis and AIDS. This trend has increased in the last 4 years, and included LM from the horn of Arica. Public opinion towards LM is ambivalent and is based on incomplete data and prejudice. Those who support LM deportation emphasize the burden of infectious diseases (ID) and raise concerns regarding possible exposure of Israeli citizens. This article will elucidate the process of data monitoring and the risk of ID transmission to the citizens of the hosting country. Of all individuals infected with tuberculosis and AIDS in Israel, 13% and 17% respectively are LM. LM are screened prior to arrival or upon incarceration in Israel Female LM are advised to perform an HIV test during their pregnancy. As a consequence of the active screening, more LM are diagnosed than Israelis, who are not routinely tested. The risk of ID transmission to the citizens of the hosting country is Limited, as M. tuberculosis is transmitted only to close (mainly domestic) contacts and HIV is mainly transmitted during sexual contact. These intimate contacts are rare between LM and Israelis. The Israeli Ministry of Health operates services for LM and supports treatment for tuberculosis patients and for pregnant HIV-infected females. Nevertheless, the unique medical needs of LM should be addressed and health authorities should appropriate a health infrastructure to support LM. Early detection of infectious diseases will lead to correct treatment and will reduce the risk of ID transmission in the community.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012