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Is CDC covering up skyrocketing TB rate?

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    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
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      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
      illegal immigrants.

      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
      in 2004.
      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."
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