Debunking Myths of Migration

Many refugees and migrants are generally healthy, but the trying transition to receiving countries ups their risk of illnesses—both communicable and noncommunicable, according to a report released yesterday by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

The report debunks several myths about migrants and refugees in Europe. In some countries, citizens’ estimate of migrant numbers are 3-4X the actual figure.

And despite the common assumption to the contrary, the report found that migrants and refugees have a very low risk of spreading communicable disease to host populations. For example, the prevalence of TB varies widely depending on the host population, and a significant proportion of HIV positive migrants and refugees acquire the infection after arriving in Europe.

The report calls for a greater sense of urgency around meeting the health needs of migrants and refugees, and comes with a series of guidelines to translate the findings into practice.

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