More than one-third of refugees in Vermont test positive for tuberculosis

Vermont Watchdog: Data from the Vermont Department of Health show that more than one-third of refugees resettled in Vermont test positive for tuberculosis.

Since 2013, about 900 refugees admitted to the Green Mountain State have been tested for tuberculosis, a potentially fatal infectious disease affecting the lungs. Of that number, 318 refugees, or 35.4 percent, tested positive.

Watchdog.org obtained the health data on Wednesday following reporting by Stateline that the disease may be making a comeback in the United States.

Refugees brought to the United States undergo TB tests as part of comprehensive health screenings. State health departments track the data to monitor cases and protect against public health crises.

According to IGRA (Interferon-Gamma Release Assays) blood test results from 2013 to the present, the highest percentage of incoming refugees to Vermont infected with TB occurred in 2013. That year, 108 refugees out of 248 tested, or 43.6 percent, showed positive for TB.  MORE

7 Comments on More than one-third of refugees in Vermont test positive for tuberculosis

  1. Uh oh, better answer your Christmas Seal letter this year with a huge donation to the American Lung Association. While you’re at it, buy more ammo; you’ll need it.

  2. I don’t think schools are inoculating for TB any longer as we had pretty well conquered the disease. Now we bring it in first class. What will it take to wake the people up? Bodies falling in the streets from a disease that we had cured? Hospitals and care facilities overflowing with patients? The re-opening of sanitoreums? Is this the drug resistant strain of TB. When Obama finally leaves office (after signing a huge stack of pardons no doubt) he ought to have a couple of these TB families relocated to live with him in his mansion.

  3. Generally speaking, vaccination (BCG) isn’t presently done in our country. That’s for two reasons- it is of questionable effect, and it can provide false positive results on future tests. Unfortunately, immigrants may present as positive, and it could be a result of receipt of the BCG vaccine. A Quantiferon Gold TB test would be conclusive. I don’t know how often that is done. In my opinion, a single, or ‘one step’ PPD test is not sufficient, and a ‘2 step’ PPD should always be performed, in the minimum. Unfortunately, the present detention/access time of the immigrants simply does not allow for these tests. There were valid reasons for quarantine at Ellis Island. Public health in our country is certainly under assault.
    Someone had a problem reading what I had written in another post, so I will clarify here that I am not suggesting that there is not a presence of TB in the illegal immigrant population. I believe it is present, and also that it is not being properly tested for. The numbers of incidence could be much higher, or they could be lower, given the possibility of BCG receipt. Additionally, it is highly suggested that if TB tests are positive, HIV testing should be done. I don’t see that mentioned very often and statistics on that are absent.
    So, if you are prone to formulate opinions, do what you will with the above.
    I will only add that it freaks me out, to no end, when I see an illegal immigrant, carrying a Mexican flag, spitting on a citizen, or anyone, for that matter.

  4. I test positive for TB with the standard test. It means I have antibodies that recognize TB and attack it. Actually, I would be much more difficult to infect than someone who has never been exposed. My dad got it in WWII, along with malaria and typhus. He survived ’em all and turned 91 this past month.

    I do not have the disease itself.

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