Active Tuberculosis Cases in MN Increase in 2016

168 cases were recorded in 2016, the highest since 2008.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Yearly totals of tuberculosis cases in Minnesota released by the Minnesota Department of Health show a 12 percent increase in active cases in 2016.

The data shows that 2016 was the worst year for tuberculosis (TB) in Minnesota since 2008, when 211 cases were recorded.

Hennepin County was hit hardest, with 73 cases recorded over the course of the year. Of those, 43 cases were from Minneapolis. Ramsey County followed in second with 40 cases, 31 of which were from St. Paul.

Olmsted County was the only other county to record more than 10 cases, totalling 11 in 2016.

Breitbart News reports that 90 percent of the TB cases in Minnesota occurred in foreign-born individuals. This is substantially higher than the national average of 67.9 percent.

Of the 168 cases, 14 were diagnosed among refugee populations that settled in Minnesota in the 2016 fiscal year. The state welcomed 2,635 refugees last year in total. Alpha News previously reported that from 2011 to 2014, the state’s refugee population had ten times more active cases of TB than any other state in the nation.

Eleven of the 14 refugee cases of active TB were diagnosed during overseas pre-immigration exams prior to their arrival in Minnesota, reports Breitbart. TB is a “Class A” health risk, and as such people with TB would require a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security to enter the United States.

Applicants who have Class A conditions include those who 1) have a communicable disease of public health significance, 2) do not have documentation of having received vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases, 3) have a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior, or 4) abuse or are addicted to drugs,” according to a 2013 Center for Disease Control report.

Alpha News reported previously of cases of TB occurring at St. Louis Park High School in January, and at Eden Prairie Central Middle School in February.

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Anders Koskinen