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March 5, 1982

Health Status of Refugees From Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Indochinese Health Education, Department of Medicine, University of California Medical Center, San Diego.

JAMA. 1982;247(9):1303-1308. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320340057036

More than 0.5 million refugees from Southeast Asia have immigrated to the United States. We undertook a prospective evaluation of 709 refugees within two months of their resettlement in San Diego. The sample included 164 Vietnamese, 356 Cambodians, 139 Laotians, and 50 Hmong. The prevalence of abnormalities was high: intestinal parasites, 61%; positive tuberculin test (PPD) results, 55%; anemia, 37%; hepatitis B antigenemia, 14%; and abnormal VDRL test results, 12%. Except for hepatitis, significant differences were noted among the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong subjects on each of these health status indicators. The refugee population should not be considered a homogeneous group of Indochinese, particularly by those responsible for their health care.

(JAMA 1982;247:1303-1308)