Refugees loaded with health problems

This morning I have a couple of articles about refugee health in my alerts.  The first is from Utah.   It is a lengthy article well worth reading in its entirety.   Be sure to look at the interesting graph depicting health problems of refugees arriving in Utah.

In 2007, 889 refugees arriving in Utah had health screenings.    219 were found to have Tuberculosis, 182 parasites, 28 Hept. B, 11 lead, 8 HIV, and 6 STDs.    The article discusses problems with language barriers and other things that keep refugees from regularly visiting medical professionals.  The first thing I wondered was how many are not sticking with a medical treatment such as the lengthy one required of those with TB.

Here is a portion of the Salt Lake Tribune article:

Tropical infectious diseases, which some American doctors have never treated, are commonplace. Schistosomiasis, a waterborne parasite that burrows into the skin and migrates to the lungs and liver, is frequently seen in southeast Asians, Swoboda said. So is Strongyloides, a roundworm that lives in the tunnels of the small intestines.

Tougher to identify are refugees’ mental health problems, among them depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

While up to 35 percent of refugees are victims of torture – for Somalis, that number can be as high as 90 percent – the symptoms of PTSD may not appear until months after a refugee has been seen by a doctor, said Rabin, who is also the medical director of the Utah Health and Human Rights Project.

A car accident or a troubling encounter with an authority figure can send a person who has been “white knuckling it” for years reeling. “One pin drops out and the trauma comes flooding back,” she said.

I had to laugh over that last statement above.  I shouldn’t be giving hints, but I see the legal defense being crafted for all the Somalis who commit crimes in the US.   You know that Somali guy from Tennessee the other day, the one who tried to rape a woman, stole two trucks and almost ran over a sheriff’s deputy.  It’s all about Post Traumatic Stress of course.   No one will raise the issue of a hate crime.  Did the Somali guy attend a ‘religious conference’, get fired up at the mosque, and then go after a white Christian woman in a Baptist church,  or did a “pin drop out?”

Somalis and autism?   Another health story involving Somalis is being reported from the Somali capital of America, Minneapolis.  Turns out that a large number of Somali children, larger than those in the normal American population, are developing autism and the school system in that city is having a real challenge with special classes filled with Somali children.  

Read the whole article about a possible link between autism and sunshine.    A study is being planned.  However, one would have to include in any such study some information from Somalia.   I’m wondering if toddlers in Somalia who might have autism-like symptoms just don’t survive there.

We have posted on many occasions about refugee problems in Utah here.

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