Friday, February 08, 2008

Terror Of A Different Sort

Imagine this scenario. A large agricultural based conglomerate hiring non-citizens to do the work U.S. citizens won't. Right. All those "illegal" pickers that swarm across the Mexican border and fan out across the country like mosquitos over a stagnant pond.

Wrong. Try the citizens of the Marshall Islands swarming to a small town in northwestern Arkansas to work for Tyson Foods. Why? Because it's a better life than they had.

It's not that they as a people aren't welcome. It's what they've brought with them. Leprosy. Yep. The town of Springdale, a bit over 60,000 strong, has an outbreak of leprosy, not to mention 100 cases of tuberculosis.

How do these people get in? Politics mostly. In a nutshell, if approved for entry they may live, study and work in the U.S. for an unlimited amount of time.

Their "traveling companions" get a free ride and as I see it, the way panic and misunderstanding begins. The imagery of leprosy conjurs up thoughts of leper colonies. I shuddered at the thought. Then did a little research.

It seems the disease is more disfiguring than fatal. This is an extreme, untreated case. Though it can be spread, it is not done so easily and it it can be treated effectively with antibiotics.  The progression can be stopped, the damage can not be undone.

It is a disease slow to develop and symptoms may not appear for up to seven years after infection, according to the Merck Manuel. So here you are. The Marshall Islands have the highest incidence of leprosy anywhere in the world. The Islanders are flocking to Springdale looking for the American dream.

All concerned are living a nightmare.


Donna in Arkansas said...

I just sent you under separate cover an article from our morning paper that does provide very accurate info
about the leprosy situation.

Channel 5 in Ft. Smith got a bit carried away as did a young doctor who is probably overwhelmed by her load of patients. The Islanders have no insurance.Leprosy is indigenous to their country maybe
caused by radioactive dumps in the area. Yes there is leprosy and
TB in AR but there is no epidemic. There are many problems of all kinds.

I guess we need Ellis Island again to examine entrants but as you say leprosy is slow to develop.
TB is another matter but anywhere there is a large population of immigrants drawn by work that no one else will do these terrible diseases are likely to be found as well as others that are pretty frightening too. That puts us back to no attention being paid to immigration and even candidates today are skating all around it.

Camellia Underhill said...

Leprosy is spread by droplets, much the same as TB or the flu etc. However, generally, a predisposition for the disease exists. Often leprosy runs in families, not because of close contact, but because of this predisposition. Immigration must be divorced from politics and the odious "political correctness". It is neither racist or incorrect to refuse entry to one carrying a contagious disease of any kind.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Thanks Donna. It is worrisome that a TV station would put out news with out confirming facts. Goes to why I always look for more than one source. I like it a lot when a reader corrects misinformation! It's a good way to combat it!