I’ve said it before and will say it again, the general public may not fear a terrorist attack from so many Muslims entering the US (legally and illegally), but they will get mighty excited if their kids come home from school with TB (or parasites even)!
This week a reader brought to our attention this very thorough and important report on the health status of refugees resettled in Texas in calendar year 2013. We didn’t know such reports existed, but apparently in some states where the state itself still has some control over the program, reports like this one are generated.
We assume that in certain states, especially Wilson-Fish states, where contractors (like Catholic Charities) have complete control of who is resettled and how many in a state, that such information is not readily available to the public. Is the contractor even keeping records?
So here is what we are learning about Texas refugees from the “Texas Refugee Health Program Report 2013” here. Open: Epidemiological Report. There is lots of really interesting information about which counties refugees went to etc., so check it out. Here are just some bullets that interested me.
* Texas reported 10,729 new refugees in the state in calendar year 2013. 7,195 were regular refugees, smaller numbers were Cuban parolees, asylees, and those holding special immigrant visas (Iraq and Afghanistan).
* Refuges from Iraq, Cuba and Burma make up the largest groups.
* 92% of arrivals were health-screened which means that about 858 were not screened for one reason or another. Why?
* 91% of arrivals needed an interpreter (imagine what that is costing Texas). Be sure to see the pie chart with the myriad languages which health practitioners must wrestle with.
* 3,583 of the arrivals were screened for Tuberculosis and 19% tested positive (that is about 680!). If you carried out this rate for 100,000 plus refugees resettled in the US every year (and every one was tested) we are looking at over 19,000 refugees each year entering the US with a positive TB skin test. Now some will argue they might not have active TB, but that doesn’t mean they won’t become active at some point in time. So, who monitors these people as they move on to other cities and states?
* 293, of those screened, tested positive for Hepatitis B.
* 97 were positive for HIV (remember you pay for their treatment!)
* And, surprisingly there were 76 cases of syphilis largely in the Cuban sample.
* We didn’t see anything about mental health, a common problem with refugees, but it could be there. See our ‘health issues’ category for posts on mental health and refugees.
* There were 231 newly arrived refugees over age 65 and even one between 91 and 95 years of age.
For some end-of-summer reading fun, go here (especially you Texans!).
We sure are lucky to have Obamacare taking care of all these “new Americans” health needs, aren’t we?