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Global Health Programs: U.S.-Bound Refugee and Immigrant Health Activities


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) U.S.-bound refugee and immigrant health activities aim to prevent the introduction of infectious diseases into the United States and promote the health of U.S.-bound refugees and immigrants.

Program Description

Each year, close to 80,000 refugees and 500,000 immigrants come to the U.S. from around the world. Before resettlement, most refugees and some immigrants have resided in difficult environments with limited access to medical care and preventive health services, leaving them at a significantly increased risk of illness, death and disability from a variety of health problems. CDC’s refugee and immigrant health activities focus on protecting the health of the U.S. public while promoting and improving the health of U.S.-bound refugees, immigrants and migrants through domestic and overseas field programs. CDC activities include:

  • Providing guidelines for disease screening and treatment in the U.S. and overseas,
  • Tracking and reporting disease in these populations,
  • Responding to disease outbreaks in the United States and overseas,
  • Advising U.S. partners on health care for U.S. bound refugee groups, and
  • Educating and communicating with immigrant and refugee groups and partners.

Where We Work

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Middle East
  • Latin America
  • United States

Public Health Impact

CDC’s refugee and immigrant health activities made significant impacts on the public's health during FY 2010, including:
  • Over 50 percent of all immigrants and the majority of refugees in 30 countries were screened according to revised Tuberculosis (TB) Technical Instructions. CDC effectively diagnosed and treated approximately 1,000 cases of TB (40 multi-drug resistant ) among overseas immigrant applicants and U.S.-bound refugees; this resulted in conservative estimated savings to states of $45 million.
  • Reducing importation of disease and improving health by providing more than 67,000 individual notifications to state health departments of immigrants and refugees with a notifiable disease within 21 days of their arrival.
  • Responding to 22 infectious disease outbreaks (including H1N1 flu, malaria, measles, cholera, and pertussis) in refugee camps.
  • Successfully modernized select U.S. health regulations and policies related to U.S. resettlement; including a final rule which removed HIV infection from the list of diseases that prevent people who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S.

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  • Page last reviewed: April 18, 2011
  • Page last updated: April 18, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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