A full 20 percent of all refugees who were resettled in Minnesota tested positive for tuberculosis, adding another wrinkle to the argument that America should swing wide its doors to all comers.
While only about 4 percent of Americans have tested positive for “latent tuberculosis,” that number is five times greater in immigrants who are resettled here, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Minnesota had 150 cases of TB in 2015, compared to 147 cases in 2014 (a 2 percent increase). The most common risk factor for TB cases in Minnesota is being from a country where TB is common.
TB screening is offered to all refugees during the domestic refugee health exam.
In 2014, 22 percent of refugees screened tested positive for LTBI (latent tuberculosis infection).
More than one-quarter of all foreign-born TB cases are from Somali-born refugees, Breitbart is reporting.
Over the last 30 years, the United States has granted refugee status to about 70,000 people every year.
Refugees aren’t just coming over with TB either. In Memphis, a measles outbreak began at a mosque in Memphis, Tennessee– traced back to the local refugee resettlement center.
The alarming public health report from Minnesota comes on the heels of news from the Centers for Disease Control that in 2015, the incidence of tuberculosis in the United States increased.
“Data from 2015 show that the number of TB cases has increased (by 1.7 percent) nationally [in the United States] for the first time in 23 years, with a total of 9,563 TB cases reported,” the Minnesota Department of Health reports.
26 percent of all foreign born cases of tuberculosis in Minnesota were from people born in Somalia. Somalians almost exclusively enter the state through the refugee resettlement program.
Four states are responsible for more than half the nation’s active TB cases: California, New York, Texas and Florida– all popular resettlement states.
A person with latent tuberculosis is not infectious and does not have symptoms of the disease. A person with active tuberculosis is infectious and has symptoms of the disease.
Ten percent of those with latent tuberculosis develop active tuberculosis if not treated, according to the World Health Organization.
“Eliminating TB in the U.S. will require increased attention to the diagnosis and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI),” the April 2016 Refugee Health Quarterly reports.