Non-Communicable Disease

Burmese Refugee Health Profile

Non-communicable diseases are understudied and poorly documented among the Burmese. Chronic hepatitis B infection is present in approximately 15% of the Burmese population, and oral health problems are common5. Domestic screening of resettled refugees from Myanmar in 2009, showed that 13% of children had an elevated blood lead level (EBLL), compared with 1% of all children in the United States10. Risk factors for EBLL among refugees resettled to the United States include: living in older homes with lead hazards; cultural practices involving traditional medicines; compromised nutritional status; and, lack of education about lead poisoning11.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Background on Potential Health Issues for Burmese Refugees. 2010 [cited 2011 June 24]; Available from: www.globalhealth.govExternal
  2. Mitchell, T., et al., Elevated Blood Lead Levels among Children in Refugee Camps Mae La, Umpiem, and Nupo. 2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Refugee Camps, Tak Province, Thailand.
  3. New York State Department of Health, Working with Refugees from Myanmar to Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning. 2010.