Is CDC covering up skyrocketing TB rate?
- Is CDC covering up skyrocketing TB rate?
Insiders say center trying to 'cook the books,' 'spin the numbers'
Posted: March 19, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
WASHINGTON The Centers for Disease Control is trying to "cook the
books" and "spin the numbers" in a new report that downplays the
spread of tuberculosis in the U.S., insiders within the Atlanta-based
U.S. agency tell the premium, online intelligence newsletter Joseph
Farah's G2 Bulletin.
The CDC released a report today portraying a serious TB threat
worldwide and a declining disease rate within the U.S. But the CDC,
say insiders, is not coming clean on the increasing domestic threat,
largely posed by dramatic population increases in recent years by
More than one-third of the global population is infected with the
tuberculosis bacterium, and TB disease remains one of the world's
leading causes of disease and death, the CDC says. Each year, 8
million people become ill with TB, and 2 million people die from the
In fact, next Thursday, March 24, is World TB Day, marking the date
in 1882 that scientist Robert Koch announced his discovery of the TB
bacterium. The World Health Organization now uses the annual day as
an international call to action against the disease.
The CDC report emphasized the latest national surveillance data show
a significant, but slowing, decline in the case rate of TB. In 2004,
a total of 14,511 TB cases were reported in the U.S. The overall TB
case rate 4.9 per 100,000 persons was the lowest rate ever
recorded since reporting began in 1953. However, the decline in the
case rate from 2003 to 2004 was one of the smallest in more than a
decade (3.3 percent compared with an average of 6.8 percent per
year), the CDC acknowledged.
The agency also said that "despite the nationwide downward trend, TB
continues to exact a severe toll on many U.S. communities. Seven
states now bear more than half the total burden of TB disease in the
U.S. California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York,
and Texas account for 59.9 percent of the national case total. The
toll continues to be greatest among minority and foreign-born
individuals, who consistently have higher rates of TB disease.
But CDC sources say the report is a reflection of "political
correctness" inside the agency a political effort to whitewash what
some health officials see as an alarming new threat of TB's spread
largely by illegal foreign immigrants.
"When you acknowledge, as the CDC has, that one-third of the world's
population is carrying this bacterium and you admit that we have some
20 million foreigners inside this country largely unaccounted for,
you begin to understand the threat," said one G2 Bulletin
source. "It's serious. And the facts are being withheld from the
American people because of political correctness toward the question
of illegal immigration."
The CDC does offer some interesting statistics in its report:
In 2004, minority populations had rates of TB significantly higher
than the overall U.S. average. The 2004 TB case rate among Asians was
20 times higher than that among whites (26.9/100,000 and 1.3/100,000,
respectively), while blacks (11.1/100,000) and Hispanics
(10.1/100,000) each had rates eight times higher than whites.
In 2004, for the first time, there were more cases of TB among
Hispanics than any other ethnic group. However, the TB rate among
Hispanics decreased slightly from 10.3 in 2003 to 10.1 in 2004. This
divergent trend was the result of a 3.6 percent increase in the U.S.
Hispanic population between 2003 and 2004.
The TB rate among foreign-born individuals (22.5/100,000) was nearly
nine times the rate among persons born in the United States
(2.6/100,000). Individuals born outside the United States accounted
for more than half (7,701 cases, or 53.7 percent) of all new TB cases
While the TB rate among U.S-born persons has declined 64.6 percent
over the past 12 years, the rate among foreign-born persons has
declined only 33.9 percent.
Ninety-five percent of Asians reported to have TB in the U.S. in 2004
were foreign-born. Foreign-born individuals also accounted for the
majority 74 percent of cases among Hispanics in the U.S.
Globally, Asia accounts for the largest number of TB cases. The
impact of TB on Mexico is also worrisome because many Hispanics
diagnosed with TB in the U.S. were born in that country.
"Even though preventable and treatable, TB remains a serious airborne
disease one with the ability to adapt, grow stronger, and travel
from one country to another as easily as people do," said the
report. "The health threat must continue to be taken seriously, both
here in the U.S. and abroad."
The CDC also acknowledged the border problems by suggesting the
agency was attempting to address them by strengthening "global
partnerships to address TB among populations hardest-hit by the
"These efforts include improving overseas screening for immigrants
and refugees, and testing recent arrivals from high-incidence
countries for latent TB infection," the report said. "CDC is also
improving the notification system that alerts local health
departments about the arrival of immigrants who are known or believed
to have TB, and collaborating with public health teams in Mexico to
improve TB control among those who frequently cross the U.S.-Mexico
Last week, a report in the Journal of American Physicians and
Surgeons blew the whistle on the way illegal immigration is
threatening to destroy America's prized health-care system.
"The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical
consequences," writes Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of the
report. "We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do
not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than
what is seen."
According to her study, 84 California hospitals are closing their
doors as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and
their non-reimbursed tax on the system.
In addition, the report says, "many illegal aliens harbor fatal
diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such
as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio,
dengue, and Chagas disease."