I recently traveled through Nebraska to meet citizens and see some of the meatpacking towns under stress from large numbers of refugees who have been placed there mostly by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the Ethiopian Community Development Council to supply multinational meat giants with a steady supply of cheap immigrant labor.
In addition to the economic, social and cultural strains on the communities there it seems that now worries about the increased rate of active Tuberculosis will be concerning residents.
Here is Michael Patrick Leahy today at Breitbart with another of his investigative reports on Tuberculosis in American towns. Add the cost of treating sick people to the burgeoning cost of refugee resettlement.
Eighty-two percent of the active tuberculosis (TB) cases diagnosed in Nebraska in 2014, that’s 31 out of 38, were foreign-born, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Only six percent of the 1.9 million residents of the Cornhusker State are foreign-born.
2014’s 38 active TB cases represented an 80 percent increase in active TB cases in the state in one year, up from 21 in 2013.
The Tuberculosis Program Report 2014, published by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, explains the role the state’s foreign-born population played in this increase in active TB in the state and the difficulties involved in dealing with that population when it comes to TB control:
Although Nebraska has an overall low incidence of TB, the cases continue to be difficult to treat because of the high percentage of foreign-born population that comprise Nebraska’s TB morbidity and also because of the complexity of the cases. The language and cultural barriers of the foreign-born population require a tremendous amount of public health resources to ensure a successful TB treatment outcome.
As many as 10,000 of the foreign-born residents of the state originally came as part of the refugee resettlement program and work primarily in low wage jobs in the burgeoning local meat-packing industry. Recently, the countries of origin for those refugees, the number of which increased from 764 in FY 2012 to 997 in FY 2013 to 1,076 in FY 2014, have had high rates of TB.
The vast majority of these new arrivals came from countries with high burdens of TB. Six hundred and sixty-two refugees in FY 2012 and 785 refugees in FY 2013 came from two such countries, Burma and Bhutan. Nine hundred and forty-eight refugees in FY 2014 came three countries–Burma, Bhutan, and Iraq.
Earlier refugees arrived from Somalia and Sudan.
And then go to our ‘health issues category’ here for much more on TB and other diseases and mental health problems associated with refugees.