Press Releases 2023

Migration-associated tuberculosis in Europe

One third of tuberculosis patients in Europe are born abroad. In order to achieve elimination of tuberculosis, strategies for active case detection and prevention of tuberculosis must address foreign-born individuals. However, there is limited evidence regarding risk assessment, curative and preventive management of tuberculosis in foreign-born individuals in low-incidence countries for tuberculosis in Europe.

In order to evaluate the risk of tuberculosis in foreign-born individuals in Europe researchers from the Tuberculosis Network European Trialsgroup (TBnet) collected data from all EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK on the incidence of tuberculosis in foreign-born individuals in these countries. TBnet is a pan-European network for tuberculosis research that represents the largest platform for collaborative tuberculosis research in Europe (

Subsequently, TBnet researchers compared the data to data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the incidence of tuberculosis in the countries of origin of foreign-born individuals living in Europe.

The authors identified 9116 tuberculosis patients among 22,459,454 foreign-born individuals from 85 migrant populations in Europe.

Results from this study show that the burden of tuberculosis among foreign-born individuals is highly diverse and heterogeneously distributed across Europe. Therefore, a high tuberculosis incidence rate in a person’s country of origin is often not aligned with the risk of tuberculosis in their country of new residence.

“The tuberculosis incidence rate in the country of origin is an insufficient indicator when addressing foreign-born populations for active case finding or tuberculosis prevention policies in Europe” says Niklas Köhler from the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center in Germany and one of the first authors of the study published open access in EUROSURVEILLANCE. “Tuberculosis elimination strategies should be informed by regularly collected country-specific data to ensure that rapidly changing epidemiology and associated risks are addressed” adds Dr. Anca Vasiliu from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (TX), USA, who also shares the first-authorship of this study.



Vasiliu A*, Köhler N*, Altpeter E, Ægisdóttir TR, Amerali M, de Oñate WA, Bakos Á, D'Amato S, Cirillo DM, van Crevel R, Davidaviciene E, Demuth I, Domínguez J, Duarte R, Günther G, Guthmann JP, Hatzianastasiou S, Holm LH, Herrador Z, Hribar U, Huberty C, Ibraim E, Jackson S, Jensenius M, Josefsdottir KS, Koch A, Korzeniewska-Kosela M, Kuksa L, Kunst H, Lienhardt C, Mahler B, Makek MJ, Muylle I, Normark J, Pace-Asciak A, Petrović G, Pieridou D, Russo G, Rzhepishevska O, Salzer HJF, Marques MS, Schmid D, Solovic I, Sukholytka M, Svetina P, Tyufekchieva M, Vasankari T, Viiklepp P, Villand K, Wallenfels J, Wesolowski S, Mandalakas AM, Martinez L, Zenner D, Lange C; TBnet. Tuberculosis incidence in foreign-born people residing in European countries in 2020. Euro Surveill. 2023 Oct;28(42). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.42.2300051. PMID: 37855907; *equal contribution

Image right: Countries of origin (left) of 9116 foreign-born patients who were diagnosed with uberculosis in different European countries (right)  in 2020.


Niklas Köhler
Clinical Infectious Diseases research group
Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center 
Parkallee 35
D-23845 Borstel

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