OCTOBER 31, 2006
Public health officials in a state with a rapidly growing illegal immigrant population attribute a dangerous increase in tuberculosis (TB) to immigration.
A deadly disease caused by bacteria that attack the lungs, tuberculosis is spread through the air from one person to another. When TB bacteria are inhaled, they can settle in the lungs and later move through the blood to other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain.
This lethal disease, virtually controlled in the United States for years, is making a comeback across the nation courtesy of illegal immigrants from developing countries where healthcare and basic hygiene are practically nonexistent.
Virginia is the latest state to report an increase in TB and health officials say illegal immigrants are undoubtedly the culprits. A new report released by the Virginia Department of Health reveals that 63.4% of TB cases reported in the state last year were among foreign-born persons.
The state’s northern region – which includes Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William–has the most cases of TB, with a rate of 9 cases per 100,000 people. A Shenandoah Valley city (Harrisonburg), with a huge illegal immigrant population, had nearly triple the TB rate of and city in its region.
This isn’t the first widely published report documenting the health risk presented by illegal immigrants who, unlike those legally admitted for U.S. residence, do not undergo medical screening to assure they are free of contagious diseases.
The director of the El Paso Texas Health District has documented that illegal immigrants are responsible for the fact that the rate of TB in El Paso County is twice that of the entire country. Additionally, Texas health officials say that contagious diseases considered to have been controlled in the United States are readily evident along the border.
They include leprosy and various deadly parasites such as pork tapeworms.
Each year U.S. taxpayers dish out hundreds of millions of dollars to medically treat illegal immigrants for these and other diseases. The problem is especially staggering in Border States with huge migrant populations.
In California, the annual losses are calculated to be about $79 million, with $74 million in Texas, $31 million in Arizona, and $6 million in New Mexico.
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