Concealment Of Latent Tuberculosis Rates In Refugees Putting Americans At Risk


Breitbart News just reported that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, most county health departments in the state, and the local Michigan offices of refugee resettlement agencies are putting the health of Americans at risk through their concealment of refugee latent tuberculosis (TB) infection rates.

While many states make this health information available to the public, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) does not collect this data even though the Refugee Act of 1980 legally obligates them to.

Facts and statistics Breitbart compiled on refugee latent tuberculosis (TB) infection rates in the United States can be seen below:

A number of states routinely make this important public health data available in annual reports: Minnesota, where the latent TB infection rate among newly arrived refugees in 2014 was 22 percentIndiana (26 percent),  Arizona (18 percent)Utah (18 percent)Texas (15 percent), and California (12 percent), and Florida (12 percent).

Other states and resettlement agencies have made the data available after repeated requests from Breitbart News: Tennessee (27 percent)Vermont (35 percent), and Idaho (21 percent).

Identifying and treating refugees who arrive with latent TB infection rates is an important element in state and national TB control programs because numerous medical studies, including one conducted at the University of California at San Diego in 2013, have shown that high rates of latent TB infection among resettled refugees pose a public health risk to the general public in communities in which they have resettled.

Latent TB becomes a health risk when it activates into active and infectious TB, a process usually associated with a lowered level of immunity among patients who have latent TB.

Four percent of the general population in the United States has latent TB infection. Ten percent of this group develops active TB at some point in their life.

In contrast, 33 percent of the population in the rest of the world has latent TB infection. When refugees arrive in the United States from other parts of the world with latent TB infection, medical studies suggest that their activation rate is higher than ten percent, due to a number of factors that reduce their immune systems, including crowded living circumstances, failure to initiate or complete latent TB infection medical treatment, and lifestyle choices, such as smoking.

Though it refuses to provide latent TB infection rate data on refugees, Michigan is one of fifteen states for which Breitbart News has obtained data on the number of refugees diagnosed with active TB.

All told, 468 refugees have been diagnosed with active TB in these fifteen states:

Minnesota (296)Wisconsin (27)Nebraska (21)Louisiana (21)Michigan (19)Vermont (17)Colorado (16)Florida (11)Ohio (11 in one county)Idaho (7),Kentucky (9 in one county)North Dakota (4 in one county) Indiana (4)California (3), and Tennessee, where two refugees have been diagnosed with the very dangerous, multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

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