Contrary to popular perception, immigrants from countries with high rates of tuberculosis do not pose a threat to public health when they move to countries with low TB incidence, a new study has found.
According to researchers in Norway, who analysed the genetic origins of all known cases of TB in the country between 1993 and 2005, the findings of the study "could not support the statement that public health in the recipient country was hampered by immigration from high-incidence countries".
The findings of the study have been published in the November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care.
"The study demonstrated that the importation of M. tuberculosis... did not generate significant negative effects on the transmission of TB in a country that was considered to be in the elimination phase of this disease," wrote Ulf R. Dahle of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, who led the research team.
"The take-home message is not one of blame or stigmatisation -- quite the opposite," said an accompanying editorial in the journal. "By ensuring access to TB care and public health programmes for all, Norwegian authorities are controlling TB and preventing transmission."