Infectious diseases among Ethiopian immigrants in Israel: a descriptive literature review

Yulia Treister-Goltzman, Ali Alhoashle, Roni Peleg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The mass immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel began in the 1980s. For most of these immigrants this was a time of sharp transition from a village life with very basic living conditions, in most cases without a regular supply of water, electricity, or healthcare services, to a modern Western urban society. The aim of this review was to search the medical literature on the characteristics of infectious diseases that are typical in Ethiopian immigrants (EI), using relevant keywords. There has been success in coping with diseases among EI, that are rare although recognized in Israel, in terms of screening and early identification. TB was common in Ethiopia over all the years of immigration to Israel. In contrast, HIV appeared in EI from 1999 when they had long stayovers in transition camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa where there was a high risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases. There were often delays in diagnosing ‘exotic’ diseases that are endemic in Africa, but not well known in Israel, such as Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Strongyloidiasis, and Bartonella endocarditis, which cause severe morbidity and mortality among EI. We describe the effect on general morbidity in Israel, and how the healthcare services coped with these diseases, including obstacles, and failures and successes. In light of the ongoing immigration of African refugees to the United States and Europe, the Israeli experience can be of value to healthcare policy makers in developing strategies for the effective management by medical staff treating these immigrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-234
Number of pages11
JournalPathogens and Global Health
Volume115
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • African refugees
  • Ethiopian Jews
  • hiv
  • immigrants
  • infectious diseases
  • parasites
  • tuberculosis

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