Although the ethnic group members harboring an outbreak of active TB in scenic Santa Barbara are not refugees, but largely illegal aliens, this is still an important story especially coming at the same time as the case in Illinois we reported last week.
We have, over the years, been following TB outbreaks largely coming from the foreign-born because we think it is one of the most under-reported problems (due to political correctness!) with our willy-nilly immigration system. See our ‘Health issues’ category, here.
From the Santa Barbara Independent last week (Hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’):
Santa Barbara health officials have been quietly working for months to contain a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak, and are now ramping up suppression efforts after publicly announcing that a Santa Maria High School student has been diagnosed with the infectious disease.
While the single diagnosis is a cause for concern, prompting both a community meeting on Friday and mass screenings at the school next Monday, the County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department’s grander ground plan has been actively kept under the radar for the past six months due to fears of alienating an already marginalized population and concerns about political backlash.
In 2013, 26 Santa Barbara residents were diagnosed with TB; 16 are North County residents, and nine are of Oaxacan descent. Figures for 2014 are not yet available, said Public Health Department spokesperson Susan Klein-Rothschild. At least one person died in 2013 from the disease (which typically attacks the lungs and has a 50 percent mortality rate if left untreated) and many had let it progress to advance stages before receiving treatment (which makes it much more contagious). Three children younger than 10 years old were diagnosed last year, and one was left severely and permanently disabled.
The disease has taken a real hold in the Oaxacan community!
Five of the Oaxacan cases “have epidemiologic links and the same genetic pattern on their TB isolate,” meaning they are all part of the same transmission chain. The Center for Disease Control declares an “outbreak” when three of more cases display that genetic link, and this week’s high school student case has been connected to the chain……the disease appears to have taken a real hold in the Oaxacan community.
Challenging job partly because they speak neither English or Spanish (diversity is strength, right!)
Thoman explained during an interview this Wednesday that Public Health nurses have been combing North County communities “day and night” in recent weeks, searching for signs of the disease. It’s a challenging assignment, she went on, as some of the Oaxacan individuals may be undocumented and harbor a distrust of government workers. Plus, many of them only speak Mixteco.
Only ten percent of California TB cases will become active! Do the math! Yikes! Isn’t ten percent of 3 million, 300,000?
While an estimated three million California residents carry the bacteria that causes the disease, only about 10 percent of them will come down with active TB, which can be cured with medication. [if they get it in time, and if the foreign-born person completes the prescribed drug treatment regime---ed]
Why isn’t this story all over the national news? For the same reason Santa Barbara health officials kept it quiet for so long—political correctness!
If fears of terrorism or crime don’t wake up Americans regarding our present out-of-control immigration, then surely the fear of ones kids getting TB in school will do it. Or, how about Mom bringing the disease home because she is a public health nurse, a social service worker, or simply a volunteer for refugee and immigrant groups?