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Infectious diseases have played a major role in shaping our history—none more so than tuberculosis (TB), which accompanied the first humans out of Africa, and continues to cause the untimely death of more than 1.5 million people each year.1 The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a much-needed wake-up call to the global threat posed by infectious disease at a time of rising population density and mobility. Against this backdrop, the past decade has witnessed large scale population displacement in Europe and the UK caused by conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and more recently, Ukraine. Since February 2022, over 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced, with over 8 million seeking refuge across Europe2—the largest and fastest mass migration since World War II. Pre-emptive planning of the urgent public health response to such events is usually limited, with reliance on existing and frequently overstretched healthcare services to support implementation. National programmes of targeted screening for active TB and asymptomatic TB infection (TBI) in migrants are an important, cost-effective element of the TB control strategy in many low incidence countries.3 This infrastructure is often leveraged to screen refugees and asylum seekers, however populations facing forced migration are more vulnerable, have a higher burden of prevalent disease,4 and present distinct challenges of access and engagement.
The Ukrainian refugee crisis poses a significant risk to …
Contributors All authors contributed equally to the editorial content.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, NIHR or the Department of Health in England.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.