TB

STARBUCKS WITH TB? STARBUCKS REFUGEE EMPLOYEES IN SAN DIEGO MAY BE INFECTED WITH LATENT TB

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  • Starbucks  does not include testing for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) as part of the “review and background check” of potential employees.
  • The latent tuberculosis (TB) rate of 43 percent among refugees in San Diego County from sub-Saharan Africa is more than ten times greater than the latent TB rate of 4 percent found in the general population
  • 30 Starbucks managers interviewed refugees at a hiring event in El Cajon, California on Tuesday as part of the company’s commitment to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years.

 

Breitbart by Michael Patrick Leahy

 

Recent arrivals from Somalia and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa were among the refugees interviewed for possible jobs by 30 Starbucks managers at a hiring event in El Cajon, California on Tuesday as part of the company’s commitment to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years.

The latent tuberculosis (TB) rate of 43 percent among refugees in San Diego County from sub-Saharan Africa is more than ten times greater than the latent TB rate of 4 percent found in the general population, according to a 2013 study from a research team led by Dr. Timothy Rodwell, “an associate professor and physician in the Division of Global Health at UCSD [University of California at San Diego].”

Rodwell’s study “analyzed data from LTBI [latent tuberculosis infection] screening results of 4,280 refugees resettled in San Diego County between January 2010 and October 2012,” and found that “[t]he prevalence of LTBI was highest among refugees from sub-Saharan Africa (43%) and was associated with current smoking and having a clinical comorbidity that increases the risk for active tuberculosis. Although refugees from sub-Saharan Africa had the highest prevalence of infection, they were significantly less likely to initiate treatment than refugees from the Middle East.”

 

 

…Starbucks apparently does not include testing for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) as part of the “review and background check” of potential employees.

“California, like most states, requires TB testing for health care workers. Employees of restaurants are not required by California law to be tested for TB prior to hiring,” Breitbart News reported.

Applying just this standard employee review practice to the Somali refugees under consideration to become Starbucks baristas could pose a potential health risk to Starbucks employees and customers.

“Around 10 percent of those with LTBI will develop active TB at some point in their lives. The triggering mechanism to activate latent TB is not entirely understood, but high levels of stress, crowded living situations, poor public health practices, the presence of other diseases that lower the immune system, and behavioral conduct–such as smoking–appear to increase the chances of activation,” as Breitbart News reported this week.

Of the 1,263 refugees who have been resettled in San Diego County in the ten months and one week since FY 2017 began on October 1, 2016, 29 percent, or 364, are from sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Department of State’s interactive website: 177 from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 134 from Somalia, 20 from Eritrea, 14 from Ethiopia, 11 from Sudan, 5 from the Central African Republic, 2 from Kenya, and one from Cameroon.

There is no indication that latent TB testing and treatment requirements of refugees in San Diego County have changed since the 2013 study.

As Breitbart News reported this week, the 2013 Rodwell study found that, among refugees in San Diego, the incidence of active TB among refugees in San Diego County is 327 per 100,000, more than 100 times greater than the 2.9 per 100,000 incidence rate of active TB among the general population in the United States.

Not only is Starbucks apparently not testing these refugees it is considering hiring for TB — who apparently come from Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria– many of them may not even have been tested by the federal government for TB in their initial domestic medical screenings.

Breitbart News repeatedly asked Starbucks for comment on its TB testing procedures for new hires, but received no response.

 

Read more: 43 Percent Latent TB Rates Among Sub-Saharan Refugees in San …