High percentage of refugees entering Australia are sick

This is not news to us.  Although it’s been awhile since we have posted on the issue of refugees entering the US with major diseases (see our Health issues category for lots of those stories) I suspect that refugees with communicable diseases like TB and HIV Aids are coming into the US daily.

So, for our Australian readers you might want to check out this story about a new report on the high numbers of sick, mostly Africans, entering Australia.

There is a high prevalence of treatable but asymptomatic diseases in African refugee children arriving to Australia, and few are screened despite having already had contact with primary care, new Australian research suggests.

A study of 240 newly arrived refugee children by Sydney’s Children Hospital at Westmead found a high prevalence of asymptomatic TB, schistosomiasis, malaria and hepatitis B.

Disease prevalence was highest in refugees from Africa, who now comprise three-quarters of Australia’s annual humanitarian resettlement, the study in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (online 20 August) found.

[…..] 

In 2006, 40% of the 12,700 refugees granted resettlement visas in Australia settled in the Sydney metropolitan area, but it is estimated that only one in five access specialised refugee health services.

Note that the concern is not about how many are sick and possibly should be turned away, its just how many are not identified before entering the country.

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