Illegal Immigration to Blame for Longmont High School TB Outbreak?

Looks that way. First some background – Longmont high school has made the national news because of “unusual” rates of tuberculosis. From

LONGMONT — About 40 percent of Longmont High School students and staff tested for tuberculosis have had positive results, a Denver Public Health official said Wednesday.

Dr. Randall Reves, director of the Denver Metro Tuberculosis Control Program, said that rate is unusual, but not unheard of.

“It just reflects that (the student’s) particular case of TB was more infectious than average,” Reves said.

Some types of sputum carry more bacteria than others, making those patients more contagious, he said.

Latent TB, unlike active TB, is not contagious. So far, the original case — which was made public in early January — is the only active case found in the school, Reves said.

TB cannot be transmitted unless a patient is actively ill, he said.

“They cough the bacteria into the air,” Reves said. “It takes a lot of bacteria being coughed into the air to cause infection.”

Because the rate of latent TB being found at the school has been higher than expected in the first two groups of students and staff tested, Reves has decided to test everyone at the school.

Beginning next week, public health officials will start testing ninth- and 10th-graders. To speed up the testing, skin tests will be given to most people, he said.

The following week, officials will test the 11th- and 12th-graders who have not yet been tested, he said.

This sort of TB develops into the active, fatal type in 5% of cases. It is treated with four months of antibiotics.

What’s this got to do with illegal immigration? Well, remember that one of the problems with illegal immigration is that the illegals don’t go through the medical screening and treatment of legal immigrants. In the late 90s, for example, I was working as a part time tutor at the college I graduated from when there was a TB scare caused by a Haitian immigrant who for some unknown reason had not been screened when entering the country. The college wouldn’t release the girls identity and instead just asked everyone who had contact with a Haitian to be screened for TB. That was what Liberals thought was more politically correct.

Telemundo covered the testing and you may have caught a glimpse of a rougeish fellow with a highly decorated motorcycle jacket and quite dashing knee high leather boots getting the ‘ol skin prick.

Anyway this was my “aha!” moment when I realized there was a very good reason to have a good, organized immigration system.

Longmont is home to a large illegal population blending in with a quickly growing Latino population. In 2010 Longmont had a Hispanic population of 17%, which was an increase of 10%. Currently that population is over 25%. In a close knit, family oriented culture (all positive things by the way) undiagnosed communicable diseases are a real danger to both the insular and the outside population.

There needs to be some sort of outreach to the illegal community that makes them understand how important this issue is. No matter where you fall on immigration we can all agree on that.