1703c Emerging infections and the health risks of migrant workers

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Abstract

Global movement of individuals, populations, and products is one of the major factors associated with the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases as the pace of global travel and commerce increases rapidly. Travel can be associated with disease emergence because (1) the disease arises in an area of heavy tourism, (2) tourists may be at heightened risk because of their activities, or (3) because they can act as vectors to transport the agent to new areas. Tourists may not stay in the country of destination for a significant period of time, however, workers spend considerable duration of stay due to overseas job contracts.

Migration across health and disease disparities influences the epidemiology of certain diseases globally and in nations receiving migrants. While specific disease-based outcomes may vary between migrant group and location, general epidemiological principles may be applied to any situation where numbers of individuals move between differences in disease prevalence.

Hence, there is a continued interrelationship between disease, travel and migration due to this global economic development affecting the workers who will be hired in the country of destination. The CDC defines ‘emerging infectious diseases’ as those infections that are increasing over time or threaten to increase. It also defines emerging infectious diseases as new infections resulting from new unknown pathogens, known infections which are increasing over new geographic areas, and known infections that are re-emerging as a result of both resistance to antimicrobial therapies and the failure of public health measures.

This paper discusses these infections related to travel of migrant workers as well as the health risks that they encounter. Current challenges exist in the prevention of transmission to other geographical areas of travel.

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