Thursday, February 08, 2007

Add cysticercosis to the immigrant gift list

Gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, tuberculosis--and now, cysticercosis (CDC's report is here):
Federal researchers say neurocysticercosis, a brain infection caused by a pork tapeworm, is a "growing public health problem in the United States," especially in states bordering Mexico, where the disease is endemic.

Neurocysticercosis is the "most common parasitic disease of the central nervous system," according to a study jointly conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California public health officials, who reported that international travel and immigration are bringing the disorder to areas where it is not endemic," such as this country.
The disease is caused by pork tapeworm enter into the spinal cord and forming cysts there. Most lethally, it causes the brain to swell, leading to death. Most of the time it causes severe headaches and seizures.

From 1990 to 2002, 85% of deaths from cysticercosis were to foreign-born US residents (three-fourths of these being immigrants from Mexico), and more than half of the deaths occured in California.

More disturbing than what it does or who it affects is how it is contracted--through oral-fecal transmission. It is most common in third-world countries where pigs are allowed to roam and have access to human fecal material. In the great circle of life, the pigs eat the night soil, and then the people eat the pigs. Then they come to the US and work in the restaurant industry, bringing their unique hygienic practices--consisting of irregular washing of hands or clothes--and spreading the tapeworm to the consuming public. The world's leading economy, on the cutting edge of technology, is taking in folks who let the swine they eat feast on human feces. That's cultural enrichment at its best.

We're only talking a couple hundred deaths and a few thousand infections. But just as in the case of the atavistic tuberculosis resurgence in the US, it appears that being around foreign-born Hispanics is more hazardous to your health due to the risk of acquiring diseases that natives aren't inflicted with than eating raw spinach ever was during the height of the recent spinach scares.

1 comment:

savage said...

We're told only that it is an obligation of so fortunate a society to give alms to those so called economic refugees. Why is such an obligation to suffer from heinous disease an obligation, when such disease can be eradicated by simply cleaning oneself. That migrants cannot even manage basic cleansliness speaks volumes of their value, and also the value of those that would justify their presence and their behavior.