Government hiding unprecedented TB infection rates among relocated refugees
More Americans might be accepting of President Barack Obama's zealous push to flood the country with refugees from war-torn parts of the world, if only he, along with federal and state officials, were more transparent about the entire process. Like for instance being up front with Americans about the health threat posed by many of these refugees. Breitbart News is reporting that officials at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, county health departments throughout the state and local offices of refugee resettlement agencies – all of whom are working closely with the Obama administration – have taken to hiding the latent tuberculosis infection rates among refugees from the general public. The website noted further that the "culture of concealment" in Michigan contrasts with how several other states deal with latent TB infection rates among refugees. As Breitbart News has reported in the past, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services doesn't collect latent TB infection rate information from county health departments or local resettlement agencies it hires to perform initial medical screenings of newly-arrived refugees. Also, the state agency obviously does not honor its legal obligation to do so under provisions of the Refugee Act of 1980.
Michigan officials not keeping TB data required by law
When the news service asked MDHHS officials for data about latent TB infection rates based on the full population of refugees screened, a spokesman for the agency, Bob Wheaton, said, "We do not have that data." Breitbart noted that the agency has hired a number of county health departments, and in some counties private refugee health screening services, all working in cooperation with local resettlement officials for the purpose of conducting initial medical screenings of all new refugee arrivals. Under guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MDHHS, all refugees who complete initial health screenings are tested for latent TB infection. However, MDHHS officials said that neither the counties nor private agencies are sharing screening data. What's more, the counties and private refugee health screeners who do have the TB data will not make that information available to the public. As Breitbart News noted further: "In the case of at least one private refugee health screening service, the Arab American and Chaldean Council, which MDHHS has hired to conduct refugee health screenings in Wayne County, Macomb County, and Oakland County, that data is also not being shared with health departments in those counties." Again, the provision of the data is a requirement of federal statutes regarding the health screening status of refugees.
One-third of the rest of the world has latent TB
Many states have made this information public in annual reports. They include Minnesota, where the latent TB infection rate among newly-arrived refugees in 2014 was 22 percent; Indiana (26 percent); Arizona (18 percent); Utah (18 percent), Texas (15 percent); California (12 percent) and Florida (12 percent). In addition, Breitbart News noted, other states made information available to the news service after repeated requests. They include Tennessee (27 percent); Vermont (35 percent); and Idaho (21 percent). It is vital to identify refugees coming into the United States with latent TB infections, because treatment must begin immediately in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Also, studies – including one from the University of California, San Diego in 2013 – have shown that higher rates of latent TB infection among resettled refugees pose a greater health risk to the general public in regions where they have been sent. Latent TB turns into a public health risk when it activates into infectious TB, a process that is generally associated with lower levels of immunity among those with latent TB. In the U.S., 4 percent of the general population has latent TB; 10 percent of those develop active TB at some point during their lives. By contrast, fully one-third – 33 percent – of the rest of the world has latent TB, Breitbart News reported.
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