Social determinants, ethical issues and future challenge of tuberculosis in a pluralistic society: the example of Israel


health policy
multi-cultural, pluralistic, immigrant society


Tuberculosis is a very serious respiratory infectious disease, caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which generates a relevant societal and clinical burden. It has always represented a permanent concern and a public health challenge over the course of human history, because of its severe epidemiological, and economic-financial implications. The present review aims at over-viewing the impact on tuberculosis on the Israeli healthcare system, its temporal trend and evolution, stratified according to ethnicities and minorities, the need of establishing new facilities and implementing screening techniques, public health strategies and diagnostic tests, following massive immigration waves from countries characterized by a high incidence rate of tuberculosis during the fifties-sixties until the nineties, and the policies implemented by the Israeli government in the control, management and treatment of tuberculosis, as well as the role played by Israeli prominent scientists in discovering new druggable targets and finding bioactive compounds and bio-molecules in the fight against tuberculosis. Israel represents a unique, living laboratory in which features of developed and developing countries mix together. This country as a case-study of immigrant, pluralistic society underlines the importance of adopting a culturally-sensitive community intervention approach. The understanding of the subtle interplay between race/ethnic host and pathogen factors, including the role of gene variations and polymorphisms can pave the way for a personalized treatment and management of tuberculosis patients, contributing to the development of new tools for targeted tuberculosis therapeutics, immunodiagnostics and vaccination products.


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