Refugee TB: Public Health Ticking Time Bomb?

Many of the “refugees” that Obama and the democrats want to “seed” our country with have TB, but never mind. It’s time for “Dancing with the Stars.”

On yesterday’s edition of The Teri O’Brien Show, and on this one (from 4/24/16) we told you that many of the “refugees,” and “undocumented unaccompanied children” invading our country from Central America are infected with tuberculosis.

The hits just keep on coming.

From Breitbart:

The high rate of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among refugees is a public health issue, Arizona state officials say.
“Most [of the] 222 cases of active tuberculosis infection (TB) …reported among Arizona’s refugee populations…[in] the past two decades …were caused by latent tuberculosis infections that became active after years or even decades of lying dormant,” according to the state’s Department of Health.…

The most current scientific research supports the concern expressed by Arizona public health officials about the high rates of LTBI among resettled refugees.

“Eighty percent of active TB cases in the U.S. are the result of reactivated LTBI, especially among individuals born in endemic areas,” a 2013 study by the University of Louisville Global Health Center concluded.

The high rate of LTBI among refugees, the significant percentage of arriving refugees who are not even screened for LTBI upon arrival, and very low rate at which refugees who test positive for LTBI complete successful treatment for it, are all reasons for the CDC to tighten its tuberculosis screening standards, as a December 2015 study by seven current and former CDC public health experts recommended:

Implementing LTBI [latent tuberculosis infection] screening and treatment for United States bound refugees from countries with high or moderate LTBI prevalence would potentially save millions of dollars and contribute to United States TB elimination goals. These estimates are conservative since secondary transmission from tuberculosis cases in the United States was not considered in the model.

The political leadership at the CDC, however, shows no indication it intends to change the policy to screen all refugees for LTBI overseas, despite the higher health risks posed by its current tuberculosis screening protocols.

As Breitbart News reported previously, other states have even higher rates of LTBI than Arizona: 22 percent in Minnesota and 26 percent in Indiana

Recent academic studies estimate that the rate of LTBI among all refugees ranges from 20 percent to 49 percent.

But the percentage of those refugees diagnosed with LTBI subsequent to their arrival in the United States who either fail to begin treatment or fail to complete it once started is very high.

In Kentucky, for instance, 73 percent of recently arrived refugees who tested positive for LTBI did not successfully complete a treatment program, as that 2013 study published by the University of Louisville Global Health Center concluded:

The lack of adherence to treatment for LTBI has been a long-standing problem. Our 27% rate of treatment completion is consistent with published literature on low adherence rates to treatment among high risk populations.

Tuberculosis represents an important global health burden, with more than 9.2 million cases of reactivation of LTBI and 1.5 million deaths per year.

Eighty percent of active TB cases in the U.S. are the result of reactivated LTBI, especially among individuals born in endemic areas.

Therefore, it is crucial that refugees are screened for LTBI and that appropriate access to treatment and adherence to therapy are ensured.

That means these LTBI positive refugees are at risk of activating their TB, at which point they become infectious and can transmit the disease to others.

A significant percentage of resettled refugees never complete their health screenings, so they may be wandering around, untreated, for any of a number of diseases, which include tuberculosis, but also include intestinal parasites, whopping cough, diphtheria, measles, scabies, leprosy, and HIV.

The rate of failure to complete health screenings-recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) but not required by law or regulation varies by state. In Indiana, 23 percentof newly arrived refugees were not screened because they never showed up for their appointments, for instance.

And how much does it cost to treat TB? As we told you on yesterday’s edition of The Teri O’Brien Show, “regular” (as in not drug-resistant) variety, ~$17,000, but drug resistant TB can cost over $140,000 to treat. No problem! We have plenty of cash to pay for health care for everyone on the planet, right?

Let me ask again: are you fed up yet? Remember that you can express your concerns about this refugee resettlement by contacting your members of Congress, sample letter here from last year. Use it as a template, but add something about this TB issue, if you care.


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