As we cavalierly bring Ebola carriers into the USA, it is useful to consider what has happened with other such bright ideas. Back in 1999, a nearby elementary school here in posh Miami Beach hired an immigrant woman from Central America to work in the kitchen. Apparently, she was not screened for contagious diseases by the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the school system. But she had tuberculosis, and one day she began to cough and sneeze all over the children and teachers. 94 students and 21 adults were infected with the deadly bacteria.
The two news stories that I found online (Story 1, Story 2) do not mention that the woman was from Central America. I know that she was because one of the infected adults from the school told me – face to face. This person’s TB was dormant, but if it had activated, and they had coughed or sneezed during our conversations, I could have been infected.
What’s most disturbing about this is that there seems to be a bit of a cover-up. The news stories did not mention that the woman was an immigrant, which I believe is a material fact when you consider that massive numbers of people in the Third World are infected with TB. Especially, the poor, downtrodden people that we like to import for cheap labor – TB strikes them at a very high rate.
And there were no follow-up stories. Were there any fatalities? How are the children doing today? Was it an antibiotic-resistant strain of TB? Were people outside the school infected? Parents? Siblings? I spent several hours searching, and was unable to find anything at all. I asked the school and the county and received nothing whatsoever. Neither has even a mention of the incident on their websites.
So you have to wonder; exactly how often does this sort of thing happen? I don’t know, but it certainly was not an isolated incident. Two years ago there was a big outbreak in Jacksonville. This story only describes the carrier as “a man”: Worst TB Outbreak in 20 Years Kept Secret.
Even worse, TB is the #1 killer of people with AIDS, and Miami has the highest AIDS rate of any American city. Is it really a good idea to bring in TB carriers? Isn’t that like rolling a hand grenade into a fireworks factory?
One of the problems with mass-immigration from the cheap-labor pools of the Third World is that almost all such people have TB. According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School: “About 80% of the population in many Asian and African countries tests positive in tuberculin tests.” The rate is lower in Latin America, but still severe.
But we’re screening out the infected immigrants, right? Well, apparently not. According to the CDC: “The TB incidence rate among foreign-born persons in 2013 was approximately 13 times greater than the incidence rate among U.S.-born persons.”
How did all those infected people get here? The CDC says that: “Applicants for either an immigrant visa or refugee status are required to undergo a medical examination overseas before being allowed to travel to the United States.”
And how hard can it be to forge a note from your foreign doctor?
TB is very difficult and expensive to treat; that’s why it is so widespread in the Third World – they just can’t deal with it.
If you live in high-immigration areas like New York, California, Texas, or Florida, there is an excellent chance that somebody with dormant TB is chopping carrots in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. Those states have the most TB cases.