Tuberculosis and prisons






Tuberculosis (TB) is common in many prisons in the WHO European Region, and especially in eastern European countries. Prisoners often come from the most vulnerable sectors of society – the
poor, the mentally ill, those dependent on alcohol or drugs – and are therefore at increased risk of diseases, including TB. In prisons, the risk of TB is heightened by poor living conditions and overcrowding. The medical services are usually inferior to those for the general population, resulting in poor treatment and the development of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), which spreads to fellow prisoners and staff. Contracting TB should not be part of a prisoner’s sentence, especially since contracting MDR-TB can amount to a death sentence in many countries.