Arkansas Leprosy Outbreak Blamed on Lax Border Control (Video)
9 Cases of Leprosy in Springdale, Arkansas!
What say you, Huck?
An estimated 6,000-8,000 immigrants from the Marshall Islands, a leprosy leader, live in Springdale, Arkansas.
The medical community is warning the public: a leprosy outbreak in Springdale could blossom into an epidemic, if something isn’t done soon.
Doctors say at least nine cases of leprosy have been confirmed in Springdale. Local doctors say they would be shocked by even one case of leprosy in their entire career, so they say something must be done soon, in order to stop leprosy’s spread.
Springdale MD Jennifer Bingham says, “my initial response was: I am shocked. I am shocked we are seeing this. It’s a true reason to be very worried.”
Medical specialists say the Marshall Islands have the most cases of leprosy, in the world. And the city with the largest number of Marshallese people, outside the Marshall islands, is Springdale. And Bingham says, it makes sense, then, that leprosy is spreading to the city. “It’s from the Marshall islands; that’s why we’re seeing it.”
Bingham says she is all for Marshallese people entering the United States, after proper medical tests. But whether they’re immigrants or not, she says people must stick to treatment, when infected. And she says, when she treats those from the Marshall Islands, this doesn’t happen. “We’re not getting the compliance that is absolutely essential to take care of this process.”
Bingham says without cooperation, leprosy, which has no vaccine, and is transmitted through the air, will spread, and could easily become an epidemic. “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.”
So now, Bingham, and others like Mayoral candidate Nancy Jenkins, say government help is the next step. Jenkins says she’s angered the federal government has been so lax with border patrol. She says, “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.”
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One case of TB was discovered in a Springdale school in 2006.
Today there have been over 100 cases reported.
An estimated 6,000-8,000 Marshallese immigrants live in Springdale and the surrounding areas, of whom 867 are children enrolled in the Springdale School District. Eight cases of leprosy were reported in December.