“One of the most dangerous tuberculosis (TB) strains that the world has ever seen.” That’s how public health officials describe the potentially disastrous bug recently carried into the U.S. by a man from Nepal who made his way into the United States illegally.
This form of TB is known as XDR – extremely drug resistant. It is not something that U.S. officials are prepared to deal with. Had this man not been caught, this type of TB would now be running loose within our borders.
Tuberculosis is airborne and often fatal. Decades ago, medical advances made it possible to treat and cure TB. But doctors never bargained on disease-carrying illegals from far-away lands introducing new and more virulent strains inside our borders.
Over the years, the disease has mutated and now some strains are once again virtually untreatable. Back in the 1930s, tuberculosis sanatoriums were commonplace. With the rise of drug-resistant TB, they may become common again. Treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, and it can take years to beat the disease. If the disease becomes widespread in the new era of tightly rationed Obamacare, there’s little doubt what tragic fate TB patients will be facing.
In the United States, TB-infected immigrants are put into medical isolation and treated until they can be safely deported. A manageable approach when there are only a handful of cases. But because TB is highly transmissible, a handful of cases can turn into hundreds or thousands in a matter of weeks.