“Tuberculosis continues to be a prevalent infectious disease worldwide, as supported by the World Health Organisation’s Global TB Report 2023, which refers to worldwide TB cases at 10.6 million in 2022, with an estimated numbers of deaths at around 1.5million, a significant increase since TB monitoring was started in 1995. Whilst there was an overall net reduction in global deaths from TB between 1995 and 2022, there remains a global gap between the number of actual versus reported cases, as well as a large skew in the countries that carry the greatest burden. Notably, two thirds of the global total in 2022 arose in eight countries, including Indonesia (10%), the Philippines (7%) and India (27%). Whilst there can be some comfort in the ever-advancing testing and treatment options, as well as increased education and surveillance, the impact on the global community of travellers is ever-present.


The implications of TB prevalence can be clearly seen in the increasing numbers of Drug-Resistant TB (DR TB), and according to the WHO, affected an estimated 410,000 globally in 2022 with 160,000 deaths, with India (26.8%) and the Philippines (7.6%) being two of the highest-burden countries.


The risk to global travellers and international employers is likely to be varied. Travellers from countries with widespread TB vaccination programmes and good levels of general health, education and living standards, are not as likely to be affected by DR TB as they travel overseas for leisure or business. But travellers that originate from countries where such programmes are not as established, or those with high TB rates, poor treatment options and limited surveillance, will have an increased risk of contracting DR TB in their overseas deployment, and this risk will increase with travel to other countries that have increased levels of TB and DR TB.”

Stuart Phillips, Director of Medical Services, MedResQ