Thursday, February 24, 2011

High Prevalence of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Bhutanese refugees from Nepal

CDC, in collaboration with several states, is completing analysis from an investigation about reports of high prevalence of Vitamin B12 deficiency among newly arriving Bhutanese refugees.  The causes are to be determined but may be multifactoral.  Because the interim findings do suggest that the rates may be higher in this population, CDC recommends that all health care providers seeing Bhutanese refugees should be alerted to this issue.  At this time it is being recommended that all Bhutanese refugees be supplemented with Vitamin B12 and provided nutrition advice upon arrival in the U.S.  Those with a diet history and symptoms related to the deficiency should be tested, treated with parenteral or appropriate dose of oral supplements, and followed by evaluation of response to therapy.  These are interim recommendations and more information based on analysis of the data available will be forthcoming. However, given the seriousness of neurologic deficits associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, this alert is being distributed early for clinicians’ attention.
Noticed produced by: Heather Burke, Domestic Team
Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Health Branch, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, CDC
For more information about symptoms and treatments of Vitamin B12 Deficiency go to CDC Resources for Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms and Treatment.

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