✪ As much as leftists insist that border controls are all about racism, the reality is that one of the prime reasons to have border controls is to protect a nation and its citizens against the infection of deadly diseases...
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hat’s especially true when people from countries with poor health care cross our borders illegally. (Of course, legal border crossers must prove they are in good health.) We’re being reminded of the practical benefit of border controls as news emerges that the Biden Administration is welcoming in illegal immigrants infected with tuberculosis, once the deadliest disease in America.
Looking back at American history, you’d think that leftists would be exquisitely sensitive to the risks of diseases coming across our borders to America from unchecked immigration. After all, current estimates are that 90% of the indigenous people in the New World died following their first contact with European explorers because they lacked immunity to diseases originating in Europe.
By the end of the 17th century, although people didn’t yet understand germ theory, they had figured out that it was wise whenever a ship arrived from foreign shores, to require the ship to remain in quarantine for a short while to ensure that no one on board was actively ill. In Charleston, South Carolina, quarantining ships in the harbor was mandated from 1698 to 1949 to prevent infectious diseases from overwhelming the city.
Of course, immigration controls or not, some diseases are endemic and nothing can stop their spread through society. One of those diseases is tuberculosis. When I was growing up, we were routinely tested for TB at school (my kids, incidentally, were not). However, in the old days, TB was a disease that could lie hidden and dormant for years before bursting into flower. Quarantines wouldn’t stop it and TB would get around.
Nowadays, when we think of TB, we imagine the Bronte children succumbing one after another or Camille, the gentile prostitute heroine of the melodramatic La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, delicately coughing her lungs away.
What we don’t think of is robust Americans dying in the thousands from TB in the early 1900s. However before antibiotics, TB was one of the world’s deadliest diseases, going back to ancient Egyptian times. By the end of the 19th century, one out of seven Americans had contracted TB. It was a miserable death, afflicting not just the lungs but the entire body. Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI, essentially rotted from the inside out when he was 16, thanks to spinal TB.
Beginning in the 20th Century, the standard treatment was for the patient afflicted with TB in the lungs to lie absolutely still, preferably in fresh air. This allowed the lungs to form a capsule around the diseased portion. When it worked, it worked.
Betty MacDonald, famed for writing The Egg and I and the wonderful Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, spent nine months in a sanitorium, emerged cured, and lived another 20 years, eventually dying of uterine cancer. In her excellent The Plague and I, MacDonald wrote about the treatment experience and the disease’s high contagion and mortality rates. (Despite treatment, 50% of patients died.)
Fortunately, TB proved to be very vulnerable to antibiotics, and the disease faded from popular consciousness. That’s why most people probably missed that, beginning in 1943, and with accelerated speed during the AIDS era when TB reared up again, TB was becoming drug resistant. So far, obviously, it hasn’t returned to plague status, but we should always be mindful of the fact that this deadly disease is just waiting for the chance to return.
That’s why it should concern all of us that the Biden Administration’s open, broken border policy has resulted in thousands of children with TB being released across America. From the Washington Times:
The government is releasing thousands of illegal immigrant children with latent tuberculosis infections into American communities without assurances of treatment.Nearly 2,500 children with latent infections were released into 44 states over the past year, according to a court-ordered report on how the Health and Human Services Department is treating the children.
About 126,000 total were released, indicating an infection rate of 1 in 50 migrant children.The government says it can’t treat the children because they are in custody for a short time and treatment requires three to nine months. HHS releases infected children to sponsors and notifies local health authorities in the hope that they can arrange for treatment before the latent infection becomes active. Those hopes are often dashed.
Local health officials say the notifications are infrequent and the child has often already arrived when they are told about a case in their jurisdiction.
Once again, the Democrats’ lawless policies are bringing about death and destruction to the American people. Be afraid; be very afraid. ✪
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