Seventeen percent of HIV carriers and 13% of tuberculosis patients in the past decade have been refugees and foreign workers, according to a report by the Health Ministry at an infectious disease conference this week. As many are illegal and do not get state health insurance, this is very worrisome.
Dr. Zohar Mor, in charge of TB and AIDS monitoring in Israel, said there is a trend of rising figures of such infections among these foreigners.
The diseases are endemic in Sudan and other African countries from which the foreigners come, he said. But because many of the refugees and foreign workers arrived and entered the country without permission, they have not been tested and there are no exact numbers, he said. However, there are estimates, as the Health Ministry and the Israel Prison Service screen prisoners for the diseases; the illegals who have not been arrested are not screened.