One of every five refugees resettled in Minnesota by the federal government tested positive for latent tuberculosis in 2014, according to the state’s Department of Health.
Only 4 percent of the general population in the United States tested positive for latent tuberculosis in the most recent report provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
The April 2016 edition of the Refugee Health Quarterly, published by the Minnesota Department of Health reports that:
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).
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.
More than 70,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States annually for the past three decades by the federal government. It’s not just tuberculosis being brought in by these resettled refugees. Measles, whooping cough, diptheria, and other diseases that were on their way to eradication are also coming in across the borders of the United States.