A little-known but potentially deadly parasite from Latin America has become one of the latest threats to the blood and organ supplies in the United States, especially in Los Angeles, where many donors have traveled to affected countries, health officials say. ...A callous cynic might use the latter paragraph as part of an analogy that uses a certain country in place of the infected person.
The parasite, which is generally passed to humans from a blood-sucking insect that looks like a striped cockroach, can feed over years on tissues of the heart and gastrointestinal tract. After decades, tissues can be eroded so much that the organs fail.
Los Angeles is ground zero for the parasite in the US. The county's rate of infection for donors has increased by 260% in the last decade, to 1 out of every 3,800. But blood donations are disproportionately made by white males, so the rate of infection among LA's general population, 36.2% of whom are foreign-born, is higher. While virtually non-existent in the native US population, Latin America is a different story, with 1 in 25 people being infected. With rates of contamination as high as 53%, it is ubiquitous in some blood banks in Central and South America.
The FDA has approved a test for widespread screening, and the Red Cross is already using it, although other blood banks blood banks in the Southwest haven't yet done so.
Unlike cysticercosis, another item of Latin American import, Chagas is not combated with basic hygienic practices. The former is brought into the US by immigrants from communities that allow pigs to eat human feces. The population then eats the swine, contracts the infectious tapeworm, and transmits it through contact with food (the spreading of which can largely be prevented by regular hand-washing and laundering of clothes). Filthy as the transmission of cysticercosis is, Chagas is worse because it's not as easily preventable, and even the strongest anti-protozoal drugs rarely eliminate the parasite completely.
Of course, ending illegal immigration and instituting a merit immigration system which includes the applicants health and physical fitness as part of a total desirability score is the best method of preventing its spread in the US:
"The number of [immigrant] Latinos in Southern California, Texas and other parts of the United States are growing, but especially in L.A., a large proportion of organ donors are Latino," Nowicki said. "They're basically bringing with them the disease prevalence in the area they used to live." (Reporter's brackets)Gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, cysticercosis, and Chagas are all maladies disproportionately brought into the US by immigrants. Reducing their prevalence can be realized by building a barrier along the US-Mexico border, handing down tough punitions to employers who knowingly higher illegal immigrants (the Basic Pilot Program makes verification easy for employers), and through criminal deportations and attrition.
Those arguing for unfettered open borders are essentially arguing for the onset of these third-world diseases in the US. Destitute migrants can receive better healthcare here than in their countries of origin. It's yet another way in which open borders give rise to wealth transfers from net taxpaying natives to impoverished third-world migrants.