Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Immigration and tuberculosis

++Addition++A couple of astute commenters point out that I incorrectly stated that most Americans are protected from TB. Most Americans have not, in fact, been immunized against TB.

Immunization is mostly reserved for children at higher risk for the contracting the disease. Most of the developed world does adminster vaccination widely to the general public, but the US and the Netherlands do not. At least not currently. But stateside, the disease's prevalence has been steadily increasing for the past two decades (thanks in part to the IRA of 1986), and if some form of S1348 is passed, we can expect that prevalence to be accentuated more still.


Michelle Malkin spotlights a trend that has remained suspiciously under the media radar--a resurgence of tuberculosis in the US decades after it had (supposedly) been all but eradicated from the US. She forcefully identifies the vectors:
Translation: Illegal aliens. Or, as President Bush calls them, “newcomers.” Or, as Harry Reid calls them, “undocumented Americans.” Whatever you call them, they are people who have not been screened for infectious disease before entering the country. The Charlotte Observer reports that “more than 60 percent of line workers in the chicken industry are Hispanic. And experts say most of the workers probably entered the U.S. already infected.”
While the anomalous case of Andrew Speaker, who travelled internationally despite carrying a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, garnered international attention, the sharp rise in domestic cases of TB go almost uncommented upon.

Most of the TB growth in the US can be attributed to immigrants, who are nine times more likely to carry the disease than natives are. One-quarter of those infected with TB in the US are from Mexico.

Most Americans are protected from the disease, having been immunized against it during childhood. But those who were not--disproportionately among the poor--are pervious. In adulthood, immunization is no longer possible and must be substituted with a costly medley of antibiotics that can have severe side effects.

By shutting down illegal immigration through the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, targeted deportation, and tougher interior enforcement, the US would be in the position to screen all potential legal immigrants for TB and other nasty foreign diseases like Chagas.

To do otherwise is a dereliction of duty. That dereliction especially hurts the native poor (but burdens affluent Americans as well by way of less sanitary services and taxes diverted to treating indigent immigrants with these diseases), who already have the odds stacked against them.


JSBolton said...

If one were counting on publicly-funded health care
one of the least favorable
outcomes would be for millions of illegals to get to bring in their
sickest and neediest relatives.
Since medical interventions tend to be done according to need, the relatives of foreign criminals from tropical
paradises[for infectious agents]
go to the head of the line, in their millions.
Veterans coming back from
the wars may find that literally millions of needy relatives of illegals have been waved in ahead of them, by smirking,'compassionate' officials.
Don't you want to do what's right for Latin America?
You're the selfish bourgeoisie, not hardworking, on the menial labor theory of value, and you don't have the anti-American family values that don't stop at the rio bravo del norte.

Audacious Epigone said...

But the race-hustlers and government interventionists want this increase in the number of indigents in need of subsidized ('free') healthcare--it is self-perpetuating. Bring in those who are in need, then point to the expanding size of the needy class to justify more wealth transfer and centralized control.

Rob said...


Are you sure most Americans were immunized for TB? I'm pretty sure the Europeans do it. But in the US, I think we use antigen tests to see if you've been exposed. The vaccine makes tuberculin skin tests come up positive, so we only screen, not immunize.

Anonymous said...

Very few Americans are immunized against TB. The available vaccine (BCG) doesn't provide sure protection. See

Many immigrants have antibiotic-resistant TB. All immigrants with TB should be excluded from the US (or deported immediately if found inside the country).

Audacious Epigone said...

Rob and anon,

Thanks for pointing that out. I was wrong. I've updated the post accordingly.