Immigrant Lepers Shock Arkansas
Posted on: 2008-02-08 11:35:41
Doctors fear leprosy outbreak might spread
Medical personnel serving the Springdale community in northwest Arkansas are warning about an emerging epidemic of leprosy, a disease once eradicated from the Western world but now making a comeback thanks to Third World immigration. Doctors in Springdale have identified nine cases, and they're taking them seriously. Said one, "People absolutely should be concerned. What I'm afraid of, is when people start thinking about it enough, it will already be out of control."
The Arkansas lepers are immigrants from the Marshall Islands, a series of Micronesian atolls deep in the South Pacific. The Marshall Islands have the highest levels of leprosy in the world, a problem missionaries have long battled.
One person brave enough to link these kinds of problems with America's out of control immigration policy is Nancy Jenkins, who is running for the post of Springdale mayor. "We've just opened the borders and said, 'Come on in! Bring your diseases! Bring 'em!' Why are we doing that? Those who have it need to be quarantined and treated, or sent back to their country."
Part of the reason professionals fear that the outbreak may hemorrhage into an epidemic is the lack of cooperation from the Marshall Islanders. "We're not getting the compliance that is absolutely essential to take care of this process," said one doctor. The problem is that leprosy is transmitted through the air, and so everyone who comes into contact with the untreated lepers is at risk. Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae and was once widespread in the Western world, leaving a permanent mark on our collective folk memory. Most white children in the US learn the story of Christ and the Leper in Sunday School, though some scholars believe the disease in that tale was a different affliction from leprosy proper. Heroic public health efforts, such as the quarantining of patients in leper colonies wiped the disease out in Europe and America, and similar efforts, helped by miracle drugs, have cut down on incidence in the Third World.
Diseases once relegated to history have been popping up as a result of Third World immigration. Outbreaks of tuberculosis and the black plague, a disease which killed off one third of the planet's white people in the Middle Ages, are being reported across the United States. "Diversity" has also brought new diseases. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA is a new "gay plague" that has spread out and may kill children. The flesh devouring staph infection was originally spread through dangerous sexual practices. HIV/AIDS is still largely confined to homosexuals, but is a major problem in ghettos and barrios, with black women having the highest incidence of new HIV infections.