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Migrant and refugee health

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Guest edited by Prof Alimuddin Zumla and Prof Ibrahim Abubakar

We are currently witnessing an unprecedented global migrant and refugee crisis. The latest estimates of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicate that 65.3 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, and approximately 34,000 people are forced to flee their homes every day, due to conflicts or persecution. Migrants come from areas affected by extreme poverty and war, and embark on long and exhausting journeys. This may result in increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung diseases, and mental health issues. The implications for global public health are too important to be ignored.

This article collection covers recent advances in infectious and non-communicable disease research, tropical medicine, and global health policy that have both broad interest and high clinical and public health relevance due to their impact on migrant health.

We are seeking submissions of original research (including systematic reviews and meta-analyses), in-depth reviews, opinions and debates offering novel insights into all aspects of migrant health. If you would like your work to be considered, please submit directly to BMC Medicine, stating in your cover letter that you are targeting the migrant health collection, or send a pre-submission enquiry to

  1. Content type: Research article

    Refugees are generally considered a vulnerable population, with refugee children (newborn and young children) being particularly so. Access to healthcare for this population remains a challenge. The main purpo...

    Authors: Anna Meyer-Weitz, Kwaku Oppong Asante and Bukenge J. Lukobeka

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:163

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  2. Content type: Research article

    Despite increasing numbers of refugee women-at-risk being resettled and their potential vulnerability, there exists no empirical research into the psychiatric health of this unique subgroup with which to guide...

    Authors: Robert D. Schweitzer, Lyn Vromans, Mark Brough, Mary Asic-Kobe, Ignacio Correa-Velez, Kate Murray and Caroline Lenette

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:149

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  3. Content type: Commentary

    The ever-increasing number of reasons forcing people to flee from their homes to new, safer places either within their countries of origin, into neighbouring countries or across continental, conversant and cul...

    Authors: Mina Fazel

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:164

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    The original article was published in BMC Medicine 2018 16:157

  4. Content type: Research article

    High-income countries like Australia play a vital role in resettling refugees from around the world, half of whom are children and adolescents. Informed by an ecological framework, this study examined the post...

    Authors: Winnie Lau, Derrick Silove, Ben Edwards, David Forbes, Richard Bryant, Alexander McFarlane, Dusan Hadzi-Pavlovic, Zachary Steel, Angela Nickerson, Miranda Van Hooff, Kim Felmingham, Sean Cowlishaw, Nathan Alkemade, Dzenana Kartal and Meaghan O’Donnell

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:157

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    The Commentary to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2018 16:164

  5. Content type: Research article

    The UK, like a number of other countries, has a refugee resettlement programme. External factors, such as higher prevalence of infectious diseases in the country of origin and circumstances of travel, are like...

    Authors: Alison F. Crawshaw, Manish Pareek, John Were, Steffen Schillinger, Olga Gorbacheva, Kolitha P. Wickramage, Sema Mandal, Valerie Delpech, Noel Gill, Hilary Kirkbride and Dominik Zenner

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:143

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  6. Content type: Correspondence

    Malaria at international borders presents particular challenges with regards to elimination. International borders share common malaria ecologies, yet neighboring countries are often at different stages of the...

    Authors: Mohammed H. Al Zahrani, Abdiasiis I. Omar, Abdelmohsin M. O. Abdoon, Ali Adam Ibrahim, Abdullah Alhogail, Mohamed Elmubarak, Yousif Eldirdiry Elamin, Mohammed A. AlHelal, Ali M. Alshahrani, Tarig M. Abdelgader, Ibrahim Saeed, Tageddin B. El Gamri, Mohammed S. Alattas, Abdu A. Dahlan, Abdullah M. Assiri, Joseph Maina…

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:98

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  7. Content type: Debate

    More than 65 million persons are currently forcibly displaced, of whom more than 22 million are refugees. Conflicts are increasing, and existing ones are becoming more protracted; a refugee remains a refugee f...

    Authors: Paul Spiegel, Rebecca Chanis and Antonio Trujillo

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:90

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  8. Content type: Research article

    Global migration is at an all-time high with implications for perinatal health. Migrant women, especially asylum seekers and refugees, represent a particularly vulnerable group. Understanding the impact on the...

    Authors: Nicola Heslehurst, Heather Brown, Augustina Pemu, Hayley Coleman and Judith Rankin

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:89

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  9. Content type: Opinion

    After 7 years of increasing conflict and violence, the Syrian civil war now constitutes the largest displacement crisis in the world, with more than 6 million people who have been internally displaced. Among t...

    Authors: Rahma Aburas, Amina Najeeb, Laila Baageel and Tim K. Mackey

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:65

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  10. Content type: Research article

    Little is known about the impact of growing migration on the pattern of tuberculosis (TB) transmission in middle-income countries. We estimated TB recent transmission and its associated factors and investigate...

    Authors: Julia Moreira Pescarini, Vera Simonsen, Lucilaine Ferrazoli, Laura C. Rodrigues, Rosangela S. Oliveira, Eliseu Alves Waldman and Rein Houben

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:62

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  11. Content type: Research article

    Most previous research on migrant health in Europe has taken a cross-sectional perspective, without a specific focus on the older population. Having knowledge about inequalities in health transitions over the ...

    Authors: Matias Reus-Pons, Clara H. Mulder, Eva U. B. Kibele and Fanny Janssen

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:57

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  12. Content type: Research article

    In November 2016, the Dutch Health Council recommended hepatitis B (HBV) screening for first-generation immigrants from HBV endemic countries. However, these communities show relatively low attendance rates fo...

    Authors: Nora Hamdiui, Mart L. Stein, Aura Timen, Danielle Timmermans, Albert Wong, Maria E. T. C. van den Muijsenbergh and Jim E. van Steenbergen

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:47

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  13. Content type: Research article

    Refugees may have an increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, and the consequences of an outbreak are more severe in a refugee camp. When an outbreak is suspected, access to clinical information is crit...

    Authors: Amanda M. Rojek, Kassiani Gkolfinopoulou, Apostolos Veizis, Angeliki Lambrou, Lyndsey Castle, Theano Georgakopoulou, Karl Blanchet, Takis Panagiotopoulos and Peter W. Horby

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:43

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  14. Content type: Research article

    Since 2015, Europe has been facing an unprecedented arrival of refugees and migrants: more than one million people entered via land and sea routes. During their travels, refugees and migrants often face harsh ...

    Authors: Jihane Ben Farhat, Karl Blanchet, Pia Juul Bjertrup, Apostolos Veizis, Clément Perrin, Rebecca M. Coulborn, Philippe Mayaud and Sandra Cohuet

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:40

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  15. Content type: Research article

    Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a growing concern in meeting global targets for TB control. In high-income low-TB-incidence countries, a disproportionate number of MDR-TB cases occur in migrant (f...

    Authors: Laura B. Nellums, Kieran Rustage, Sally Hargreaves and Jon S. Friedland

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:27

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  16. Content type: Research article

    The year 2016 has marked the highest number of displaced people worldwide on record. A large number of these refugees are women, yet little is known about their specific situation and the hurdles they have to ...

    Authors: Jenny Jesuthasan, Ekin Sönmez, Ingar Abels, Christine Kurmeyer, Jana Gutermann, Renate Kimbel, Antje Krüger, Guenter Niklewski, Kneginja Richter, Ulrich Stangier, Anja Wollny, Ulrike Zier, Sabine Oertelt-Prigione and Meryam Shouler-Ocak

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:15

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  17. Content type: Research article

    Epidemiological studies suggest that reduced exposure to varicella might lead to an increased risk for herpes zoster (HZ). Reduction of exposure to varicella is a consequence of varicella vaccination but also ...

    Authors: Johannes Horn, Oliver Damm, Wolfgang Greiner, Hartmut Hengel, Mirjam E. Kretzschmar, Anette Siedler, Bernhard Ultsch, Felix Weidemann, Ole Wichmann, André Karch and Rafael T. Mikolajczyk

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:3

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  18. Content type: Opinion

    Changes in climate, in conjunction with other drivers of mobility, shape human migration. While there is an increasing focus on the adaptive potential of migration, the health impacts of climate-related migrat...

    Authors: Patricia Schwerdtle, Kathryn Bowen and Celia McMichael

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2018 16:1

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  19. Content type: Guideline

    Populations exposed to humanitarian emergencies are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, including new onset, relapse and deterioration of psychotic disorders. Inadequate care for this group may ...

    Authors: Giovanni Ostuzzi, Corrado Barbui, Charlotte Hanlon, Sudipto Chatterjee, Julian Eaton, Lynne Jones, Derrick Silove and Peter Ventevogel

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2017 15:197

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  20. Content type: Commentary

    This Commentary describes the situation and healthcare needs of Afghans returning to their country of origin. With more than 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan and approximately 450,000 Afghans returned fr...

    Authors: Ariel Higgins-Steele, David Lai, Paata Chikvaidze, Khaksar Yousufi, Zelaikha Anwari, Richard Peeperkorn and Karen Edmond

    Citation: BMC Medicine 2017 15:196

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