Ongoing tuberculosis transmission among second-generation Ethiopian immigrants in Israel

H. Bishara, M. Green, D. Chemtob, A. Saffouri, L. Zelikman, D. Weiler-Ravell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite considerable efforts to control tuberculosis (TB) among Ethiopian immigrants in Israel, an outbreak of TB among second-generation Ethiopian immigrants that involved native Israelis occurred between January 2011 and December 2019. The aim of this article is to report on this outbreak and discuss the patient and health system barriers that led to its propagation. Overall, 13 culture-positive TB patients were diagnosed in this outbreak. An additional 36 cases with identical mycobacterium tuberculosis genotypes were identified through cross-checking with the National TB Laboratory Registry. Among the 32 close contacts of the index case, 18 (56.3%) reported for screening and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) was recommended for 11 (61.1%) of them. However, none completed treatment and eight eventually developed TB. Of the 385 close contacts identified in this outbreak, 286 (74.3%) underwent contact investigation, 154 (53.8%) were recommended LTBI treatment, but only 26 (16.9%) completed the treatment. Routine contact investigation and treatment practice measures failed to contain the cascade of infection and disease, leading to the spread of the infecting strain of TB. This report highlights the challenges to identify the high-risk group and address barriers to care among such a vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contact Tracing
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Ethiopia/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel/epidemiology
  • Latent Tuberculosis/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis/epidemiology
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology


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