Thursday, June 16, 2016

Refugees double TB cases in Texas

Newly arrived refugees have doubled the incidence of tuberculosis in Texas, Watchdog.org has learned.

The Department of State Health Services said 1,238 refugees, asylum-seekers, Cuban parolees, human-trafficking victims and holders of special immigrant visas tested positive for TB.

Texas typically reports 1,200 to 1,300 active TB cases annually, DSHS said.

DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen said the positive screenings by refugees could indicate latent TB infections.

“They have been exposed to TB and have the bacteria dormant in their body. It does not indicate that they are sick with tuberculosis and capable of spreading it,” Van Deusen said.

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But the federal Refugee Health Program runs initial health screenings, but does not follow immigrants long-term, so the agency doesn’t have data on whether any have progressed to...
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