[Rushtalk] Don’t forget refugee health concerns, perhaps more deadly than terrorism

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Sat Jan 16 13:29:44 MST 2016

by Ann Corcoran | November 22, 2015

We have anentire category here at RRWon refugee and immigrant health
(286 previous posts!) and I've maintained for years that health problems
coming into the US with refugees and the cost of treating the myriad
diseases and chronic conditions could ultimately be more significant to
your community than a terrorist attack might be.

Those refugees with latent TB are admitted to the US and some who are
being treated for active TB may also gain entry. Photo:

That said, here is an informative article (hat tip: Joanne) from The
Journal of Family Practice a few years ago which goes over the issues
facing the medical community as we 'welcome' over 100,000 refugees and
asylum seekers to America each year.

Pay special attention to the sections on Tuberculosis and HIV (there is
no longer a bar to admission for HIV/AIDS and refugees are no longer
even tested for it in advance of admission).  Other big medical issues
include intestinal parasites and hepatitis.  And, of course mental

In 2012 we posted a film describing how refugees with active TB were
being prepared for entry into the US, here.

Here is how the Journal of Family Practice article opens:

Refugees arrive in the United States with complex medical issues,
including illnesses rarely seen here, mental health concerns, and
chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

I encourage all of you working in 'pockets of resistance' to be sure to
do your homework on health issues, including mental health issues.
According to Anastasia Brown of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops,
75% of Iraqis entering the US have mental illness. See Journal of
Migration and Human Security report, here.

The Centers for Disease Control also has important information on its
website, here.

And, in the past we have noted that both Texas and Minnesota health
departments have lots of good information about refugee health on their
websites, and I expect some other states do as well.  If your state
health department does not report on refugee medical problems that is
something you should be advocating for where you live.

Again, see our 'Health issues' category by clicking here.


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