Idaho health officials clarify report of refugees with TB

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a statement Tuesday in response to a post on the Breitbart website that says seven refugees with tuberculosis were resettled in Idaho between 2011 and 2015.

“While that is accurate, it’s important to note that those refugees were not infectious and could not spread the tuberculosis infection to other people,” the department said.

The website said Idaho was one of seven states to resettle refugees with tuberculosis.

The refugees had abnormal chest X-rays but tested negative for contagious disease after arriving in Idaho, the department said.

4,500 Refugees arrived in Idaho during the last five years

“Even so, they all received immediate treatment and were monitored by public health officials to make sure any TB would be killed that their lungs might harbor,” it said.

The department’s statement goes on to explain how tuberculosis is and is not spread, among other information.

“Idaho typically reports about 10 cases of active TB each year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with one or two from the refugee community,” the statement said. “There are five cases being treated in the state today, but none are refugees. The last outbreak of TB in the state happened in 2008 in the Treasure Valley’s homeless population.”