Crisis-affected populations and tuberculosis

Dominik Zenner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


By definition, humanitarian crises can severely affect human health, directly through violence or indirectly through breakdown of infrastructure or lack of provision for basic human needs, such as safe shelter, food, clean water, and suitable clothing. After the initial phase, these indirect effects are the most important determinants of morbidity and mortality in humanitarian emergencies, and infectious diseases are among the most significant causes of ill health. Tuberculosis (TB) incidence in humanitarian emergencies varies depending on a number of factors, including the country background epidemiology, but will be elevated compared with precrisis levels. TB morbidity and mortality are associated with access to appropriate care and medications, and will also be elevated due to barriers to access to diagnosis and appropriate treatment, including robust TB drug supplies. While reestablishment of TB control is challenging in the early phases, successful treatment programs have been previously established, and the WHO has issued guidance on establishing such successful programs. Such programs should be closely linked to other health programs and established in close collaboration with the country's national treatment program. Individuals who flee the emergency also have a higher TB risk and can face difficulties accessing care en route to or upon arrival in host countries. These barriers, often associated with treatment delays and worse outcomes, can be the result of uncertainties around legal status, other practical challenges, or lack of health care worker awareness. It is important to recognize and mitigate these barriers with an increasing number of tools now available and described.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberTNMI7-0031-2016
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

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© 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.


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