Notes from the Field: Splenomegaly of Unknown Etiology in Congolese Refugees Applying for Resettlement to the United States - Uganda, 2015

Author/s: Goers M, Ope MO, Samuels A, Gitu N, Akandwanaho S, Nabwami G, Nyoka R, Cetron MS, Dalal W, Conroy AL, Cantey P, John C, Naoum M, Weinberg M, Marano N, Stauffer W.
Language: English
Publication Type: Scientific Report (Journal)(External)

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Approximately 70,000-90,000 refugees are resettled to the United States each year, and during the next 5 years, 50,000 Congolese refugees are expected to arrive in the United States. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) performs refugee medical examinations overseas for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program. In 2014, IOM reported that a large number of U.S.-bound Congolese refugees from Uganda had spleens that were enlarged on examination. During two evaluations of refugee populations in western Uganda in March and July 2015, refugees with splenomegaly on physical examination were offered additional assessment and treatment, including abdominal ultrasonography and laboratory testing. Among 987 persons screened, 145 (14.7%) had splenomegaly and received further testing. Among the 145 patients with splenomegaly, 63.4% were aged 5-17 years (median = 14.8 years). There was some evidence of family clustering, with 33 (22.7%) of the 145 cases occurring in families.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention