Watchdog.org had to use public information request laws to try to get the information, but the effort by the Health Dept. to not answer the request is revealing and perhaps worse than just biting the bullet and supplying the information!
The public everywhere is sick of the secrecy surrounding the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program and this is one more reason why!
By the way, we have known for years that refugees were permitted entry into the US with latent TB. In fact in our early months writing this blog in 2007, we were stunned to learn about how the large number of TB cases among refugees in Fort Wayne, Indiana were swamping the Allen County Health Dept. However, we, like you, are shocked now to learn that refugees with ACTIVE TB are being permitted entry and quietly treated with your tax dollars.
Here is the latest on the Tuberculosis controversy in Vermont (hat tip: Joanne):
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Epidemiologists at the Vermont Department of Health are concealing the number of refugees with contagious active tuberculosis nearly a month after Watchdog reported that more than one-third of Vermont’s resettled refugees test positive for TB.
Earlier this month, Watchdog revealed that 35 percent of Vermont’s incoming refugees in the past four years tested positive for tuberculosis. How many of those cases are contagious and symptomatic, however, remains a secret, as state epidemiologists and top officials at the Health Department have spent weeks blocking efforts to obtain the data.
Refugees brought to the United States take TB tests as part of comprehensive health screening. For refugees resettled in Vermont, the Department of Health’s Refugee Health Program monitors test results and treats patients who have active TB disease. Unlike latent tuberculosis infection, active TB disease is contagious, symptomatic and even deadly.
According to documents obtained through a public records request, the evasions began May 27, when Watchdog contacted the Health Department to learn how many refugees tested positive for TB in recent years. The inquiry sparked private meetings among state epidemiologists, public health nurses and office staff, who proceeded to conceal the number of contagious active TB disease cases brought to Vermont through the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.
Continue reading here to see the degree to which these health officials charged (presumably) with keeping all Vermonters safe and healthy are attempting to hide data on active TB in the state.
What Watchdog.org has done here is a model for what you should be doing where you live, not just on the subject of refugee health, but also investigate who is pushing resettlement and why among your elected officials (Twin Falls!) and expose them! Find out who is benefiting FINANCIALLY in your town or city!
See our ‘health issues’ category by clicking here. We have hundreds of posts there on issues of immigrant and refugee health (including the refugee mental health treatment you pay for).