A deadly disease that the US was close to eliminating is now back on the rise, due to high influx of foreign refugees being resettled in the country. Many refugees coming here have not been immunized, and they are bringing their illnesses with them.
The state of Vermont is just one example. Data from the health department shows that ONE-THIRD of the refugees brought to Vermont tested positive for tuberculosis. Nationally, of the 9,563 cases of TB reported in the U.S. for 2015, over 66 percent of those were from foreign-born persons.
Tuberculosis is a top infectious killer disease worldwide. According to health statistics, about one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means they have been infected with the bacteria, but are not yet ill. The bacteria may lie dormant for years, and those with a compromised immune system have a much higher chance of actually falling ill with the disease – at which time it does become contagious.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Related news: One in Five Refugees in Minnesota Test Positive for Tuberculosis[/pullquote]
TB is curable and preventable – but it can also be deadly. In 2014, an estimated 9.6 million people became ill with the disease, and 1.5 million people died from it. It is an airborne disease, and can be spread when someone coughs, sneezes or spits into the air. It only takes just a few germs inhaled to contact the disease.
In one incident in Vermont in 2015, a teacher who contacted the disease led to 19 children and two adults becoming infected with latent TB.
State Refugee Coordinator Denise Lamoureux said Vermont plans to admit 350 refugees this year. One hundred refugees may be placed in Rutland, where Mayor Chris Louras is facing a backlash from residents for hiding the city’s resettlement plans from the public.
Refugees may be entitled to multiple years of taxpayer-funded medical, cash and social assistance. Assistance benefits range from Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to job preparation and placement. Funding for Vermont’s refugee resettlement program comes from federal grants distributed to the Vermont Agency of Human Services and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
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