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Noninfectious Disease Among the Bhutanese Refugee Population at a United States Urban Clinic

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A large number of Bhutanese are currently being resettled to the United States. A high prevalence of noninfectious diseases has been noted in some refugee groups, but data on the Bhutanese refugee population are lacking. A retrospective, chart review study was conducted to determine proportion of noninfectious disease among ethnically Nepali Bhutanese refugees (n = 66) seen at the Grady Refugee Clinic (GRC). GRC disease proportions included the following: 52 % of the patients were overweight/obese (n = 34), 23 % were hypertensive (n = 15), 12 % had vitamin B12 deficiency (n = 8), 15 % had depression (n = 10), and 14 % had diabetes (n = 9). Nine (90 %) patients with depression had chronic disease compared to 30 (54 %) of the patients without depression. The study found a substantial burden of chronic disease, micronutrient deficiency, and depression in the GRC. Further research is needed to accurately describe the disease burden in refugee populations and to evaluate pre-resettlement disease prevention strategies to provide a framework for future public health interventions.

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Correspondence to Michael S. Saenger.

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Kumar, G.S., Varma, S., Saenger, M.S. et al. Noninfectious Disease Among the Bhutanese Refugee Population at a United States Urban Clinic. J Immigrant Minority Health 16, 922–925 (2014).

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