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Minn Med. 2010 Jun;93(6):42-6.

Blood lead screening among newly arrived refugees in Minnesota.

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University of Minnesota School of Public Health's Maternal and Child Health Prrogram, USA.


During the last 10 years, the prevalence rate of elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs) in the general population in the United States has decreased, while the rate of EBLLs among refugee children in this country has remained high. Because of this, national guidelines recommend both an initial and a repeat screening of refugee children. To explore blood lead screening among refugee children in Minnesota, we examined data on 1,256 children who arrived in Minnesota between 2004 and 2007. Our objectives were to describe the characteristics of refugee children who are screened for blood lead; identify the characteristics of refugee children with an EBLL following screening; and describe the characteristics of refugee children who received a repeat blood lead test. Our results showed that approximately 6% of refugee children in Minnesota had an EBLL and fewer than half of all refugee children in the sample received a repeat test. For that reason, primary care providers should be periodically reminded of the importance of repeat lead screening for refugee children.

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