Regarding the story about the report of tuberculosis risk from refugees ("Report of TB risk fuels dispute," Page B3, May 18):
I am the doctor who orders the most TB screening tests, because I do immigration and refugee physicals. This has included probably a couple hundred refugees, plus immigrants from 50 countries.
None have had active TB, though there was a TB epidemic here several years ago caused by a US-born man from Minnesota.
All immigrants are carefully screened for TB before they can get a job. All refugees come to the United States after having a physical at the country of origin that generates a 30-page health report.
We screen here for TB, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis and many more problems. Most people from countries where TB is prevalent have had the BCG vaccine for it; though it saves many people from childhood forms of TB, the protection wanes within a couple of years.
So, I urge Herald readers not to worry about catching TB from their new neighbors. Here are the things we are more likely to catch from them:
▇ Delicious food, which can drive the obesity epidemic here.
▇ Higher emphasis on socializing and celebrating, jeopardizing our time on Facebook and watching TV.
▇ Resilience: After joking with a man while removing shrapnel from his forehead, hearing others describe witnessing their parents' murder and getting firsthand accounts of what it is like to be on a raft that sinks in the Mediterranean, I can no longer whine about a slow computer connection. May we all catch something from these new neighbors!
Dr. Lange is a family medicine specialist at Valley Community Health Center.