Migration Health: Highlights from Inaugural International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) Conference on Migration Health

  • Anita E. HeywoodEmail author
  • Francesco Castelli
  • Christina Greenaway
Tropical, Travel and Emerging Infections (L Chen and A Boggild, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Tropical, Travel and Emerging Infections


Purpose of Review

International migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact. The inaugural International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) International Conference on Migration Health provided a forum to discuss scientific evidence on the broad issues relevant to migration health. This review summarises the key health issues, with a focus on infectious diseases, current effective strategies and future considerations presented at this forum and in the recent literature.

Recent Findings

Migrants face health disparities for both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Their heightened infectious disease risks, compared to host populations, are related to pre-migration exposures, the circumstances of the migration journey and the receptivity and access to health services in their receiving countries. While the prevalence of infectious diseases identified through screening programmes are generally low, delays in diagnosis and treatment for a range of treatable infectious diseases result in higher morbidity and mortality among migrants. Barriers to care in host countries occur at the patient, provider and health systems levels. Coordinated and inclusive health services, healthcare systems and health policies, responsive to patient diversity reduce these barriers.


Structural barriers to healthcare provision impede equitable care to migrants and refugees. Public health and medical professionals have a role in advocating for policy reforms.


Migration Immigrant Travel health Migration health Screening Infectious diseases 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Statement

This review complies with ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

Anita Heywood has received consultation fees from GSK and grant funding for investigator-driven research from GSK and Sanofi-Pasteur unrelated to this manuscript.

Francesco Castelli acts as Principal Investigator for Company-sponsored clinical trials in the field of HIV, viral hepatitis and antimicrobial therapy, unrelated to this manuscript.

Christina Greenaway has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This review does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUNSW SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University Department of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesUniversity of Brescia and ASST Spedali CiviliBresciaItaly
  3. 3.UNESCO Chair “Training and empowering human resources for health development in resource-limited countries”University of BresciaBresciaItaly
  4. 4.Division of Infectious Diseases, Jewish General HospitalMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical ResearchJewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  6. 6.JD MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill, McGill University Health CentreMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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