In another sign that times have changed – drastically – from when new immigrants and refugees were coming through Ellis Island and subject to months of quarantine due to concerns that newcomers would bring infectious diseases into the country, it turns out that upon arrival in Vermont, a full third of the people claiming refugee status are carriers of latent 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….
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.
Considering that in the United States AMERICANS are tested for TB on a regular basis and are subject to treatment sometimes on condition of employment, that’s quite a lapse in allowing people into the country with a potentially fatal disease.
Ben Truman of the Vermont Department of Health downplayed the seriousness of the rate of latent infections to watchdog.org, claiming that the chances of TB in the carrier form developing into full blown tuberculosis is not likely to happen.
“The Vermont five-year average of active TB cases for 2011 to 2015 is 5.4 cases, with a range of two to eight cases per year,” Truman said.
Considering that TB is a horrific lung disease when it is active – and is sure to infect far more people in that state which is why every hospital in the country has a private isolation room just for TB patients – the reality that a full third to almost half of the refugees being let into the country and resettled all over the place having even latent Tuberculosis is downright maddening.
As it happens, American taxpayers are increasingly irrate at the concept that we the people are paying not just for refugees who may or may not embrace our way of life to live among us in the form of welfare, but for increased health care costs as the people coming into the country have infectious diseases that must be treated aggressively in order to keep the rest of us from getting sick.
Refugee resettlement is facing fresh scrutiny after President Obama pledged to admit 100,000 refugees to the United States, up from the prior cap of 70,000. As distinguished from immigrants, refugees are people who have fled their countries due to war or persecution.
State Refugee Coordinator Denise Lamoureux said Vermont plans to admit 350 refugees this year. One hundred refugees may be placed in Rutland, where Mayor Chris Louras is facing a backlash from residents for hiding the city’s resettlement plans from the public.
Vermont is not the only state to face these issues. Arizona is reporting a high number of latent TB cases from refugees that we are assured is a world-wide problem.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tuberculosis is common worldwide, with one out of every three people carrying the bacteriumMycobacterium tuberculosis. In 2014, about 9.6 million people had active TB and 1.5 million people died from the disease. TB disease is rare in the United States, however, with just 9,421 active TB cases reported in 2014.
And that is the way we would like to keep it, thank you very much.