Background: Between 2008 and 2018, persons granted asylum (asylees) increased by 168% in the United States. Asylees are eligible for many of the same domestic benefits as refugees under the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), including health-related benefits such as the domestic medical examination. However, little is known about the health of asylees to guide clinical practice.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of domestic medical examination data from 9 US sites from 2014 to 2016. We describe and compare demographics and prevalence of several infectious diseases such as latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), hepatitis B and C virus (HBV, HCV), and select sexually transmitted infections and parasites by refugee or asylee visa status.
Results: The leading nationalities for all asylees were China (24%) and Iraq (10%), while the leading nationalities for refugees were Burma (24%) and Iraq (19 %). Approximately 15% of asylees were diagnosed with LTBI, and 52% of asylee adults were susceptible to HBV infection. Prevalence of LTBI (prevalence ratio [PR] = 0.8), hepatitis B (0.7), hepatitis C (0.5), and Strongyloides (0.5) infections were significantly lower among asylees than refugees. Prevalence of other reported conditions did not differ by visa status.
Conclusions: Compared to refugees, asylees included in our dataset were less likely to be infected with some infectious diseases but had similar prevalence of other reported conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guidance for the US Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arrived Refugees can also assist clinicians in the care of asylees during the routine domestic medical examination.
Kumar, Gayathri S; Pezzi, Clelia; Payton, Colleen; Mamo, Blain; Urban, Kailey; Scott, Kevin; Montour, Jessica; Cabanting, Nuny; Aguirre, Jenny; Ford, Rebecca; Hughes, Stephen E; Kawasaki, Breanna; Kennedy, Lori; and Jentes, Emily S, "Health of Asylees Compared to Refugees in the United States Using Domestic Medical Examination Data, 2014-2016: A Cross-Sectional Analysis." (2021). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 135.