Adult Health Issues: Other Concerns

Note

Because of the limited amount of research that has been conducted with Hmong American elders, we expanded our literature review to include research that has been conducted with adults who are 21 years and older.

Chronic Hepatitis B

On arrival in the 1970s-1990s, about 15% of the total Hmong refugee population carried the chronic infection, while on arrival in 2004-2006, the rate was 10% (Minnesota Department of Health 2006a, 2006b). Well-known complications have not spared the Hmong: cirrhosis, chronic liver failure, and hepato-cellular carcinoma. Every Hmong person should know their Hepatitis B status; chronically infected people should have yearly examinations and susceptible individuals should be evaluated for anti-viral treatment.

It is our clinical impression that most patients are interested in learning about their Hepatitis B status and receiving vaccinations against Hepatitis B, and that some people who have chronic Hepatitis B are willing to be tested annually, while others are hesitant to pursue these tests, stating they feel fine and aren’t concerned about their liver. Nonetheless, as more people die from hepatocellular carcinoma or receive liver transplants from liver cirrhosis, the community is becoming more aware of the importance of surveillance.

Tuberculosis

Identification and treatment of active tuberculosis disease occur in Thai refugee camps before refugees are allowed to migrate to the U.S. In 2004-2005, 52 people were diagnosed and treated for TB in Thailand prior to departure and 37 people were diagnosed upon arrival to the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, 2005b). Identification and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is done in this country. Approximately 12% of those arriving 2004-2006 had LTBI (Minnesota Department of Health, 2006a, 2006b).