Guidance

Israel: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening, because Israel has a low prevalence.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Israel.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis

There is a low incidence of TB in Israel (<40 cases/100,000), so:

  • routine screening for TB is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

Take a sexual history, and:

  • screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
  • test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia

Israel has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so:

  • offer and recommend an HIV test if the patient:
    • falls into a high risk group
    • is newly registering in a high prevalence area
  • be advised that national guidelines do not recommend routine consideration of HIV testing of infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK

Hepatitis B

Israel has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Israel has the same or lower prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so ascertain any risk factors for HCV infection that may indicate the need for screening

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Israel, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Israel are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Israel

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Israel
Number of children per woman¹ 2 3
Breast examination or mammography² 75% 76%
Cervical cancer screening³ 70% 45%

¹lifetime average; ²women aged 50 to 69 years; ³women aged 20 to 69 years

No data are available on:

  • contraceptive use

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a low risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence is 5 to 20%) and a high risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is >40%), so:

  • be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly for women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Israel.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provides background information on the culture, politics and history of Israel.

Languages

The main languages used in Israel are:

  • Hebrew (official)
  • Arabic (used officially for Arab minority)
  • English (most commonly used foreign language)

Source: The World Factbook

Religions

Religion Population (%)
Jewish 75.1
Muslim 17.4
Other 3.9
Christian 2
Druze 1.6

Source: The World Factbook

Migration to the UK

There were almost 18,000 people from Israel living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Published 31 July 2014