State health officials say tuberculosis is under control in Arizona despite growing national concern over imported drug-resistant strains of a disease that hasn't flourished in the United States since the mid-1900s. ...
"It's just an airplane ride away," said Dr. Karen Lewis, tuberculosis-control officer for the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Do we even have that much cushion? More like it's a border-hop away:
Arizona reported 281 active tuberculosis infections. A total of 172 infected people were foreign-born, 68 percent from Mexico, where the tuberculosis incidence rate is 10 times higher than in Arizona.In absolute terms the number of infections are quite small. Although tuberculosis is contagious, most people can cohabitat with a person who is infected and not contract the disease themselves.
But it's certainly worth noting that a disease we eradicated a century ago is now proving itself atavistic as over a million new arrivals inundate the US, coming primarily from a country where the rate of tuberculosis is ten times as high as it is stateside. And the media went into a hissy-fit over a single spinach fatality. About one in 300 E Coli sufferers die from the virulent infection. In contrast, without chemotherapy, a person who contracts tuberculosis has a 50/50 shot. Even with celerity of treatment, one-in-five die. I'm not sure what percentage of the population regularly consumes spinach (ascertain it here) or what percentage comes into daily contact with foreign-born Hispanics, but it appears that being around immigrants is worse for your health than eating raw spinach was during the height of the E coli scare.
The article linked to previously reads:
The majority of drug-resistant infections are brought to the U.S. by legal visitors, many of them unaware that they carry the deadliest strains.I'd like to know how the doctor reached that conclusion. She's speaking in absolute terms (there are some 50 million visitors to the US each year, so this wouldn't be surprising), presumably, but I bet the rate of TB is higher among illegal vistors than legal ones. The former are obviously much harder to track, while the latter are more likely to have the means to insulate themselves from the disease and also treat it when it is contracted.
Relative to other regions of the world, TB isn't much of a problem in Europe, but in the Western Hemisphere, only one country, Canada, has a lower TB prevelancy than the US does. Haiti's rate is a full 90 times greater than the US' (and virtually all African and SE Asian countries are at least an order of magnitude worse than the US in terms of TB prevelancy). In Peru, it's over 60 times greater.
TB is as diverse as America:
Nationwide, there has been a spike in milder but lethal "multidrug-resistant" tuberculosis, which responds to more treatments but can cost up to $250,000 andSo mild it will kill you, but not before ringing you dry! Who's going to come up with the money to treat the 'undocumented' who carry the disease? This strain is more nefarious than the original, in my opinion. In any case, tuberculosis is clearly a consequence of foreigners arriving in the US, legal and illegal. It is an almost purely external threat:
take several years to cure.
In 2005, the most important risk factor associated with tuberculosis in Arizona and nationwide was birth outside the U.S., according to the state's Tuberculosis Surveillance Report, released last week.Don't be afraid to bring up health in discussions you have with others over the topic of immigration. It's not just tuberculosis--other putatively historical diseases of the Oregon Trail era are making a comeback in North America: Syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis (mostly from Asia) are all coming home to roost.
Our government is supposed to protect us from this kind of stuff. A merit immigration system would fancifully include health screenings (and part of the total score that determines whether or not an applicant can be a US resident would be derived from these screenings) as a way of shoring up our government's dereliction of duty.