County opts for new strategy to fight TB

Plan is set to counter unexpected jump in cases

Tuberculosis rates are on the decline throughout the U.S., but in Santa Clara County the numbers remain high. With more cases of tuberculosis per year than most states, county officials are looking to shift the approach to fighting the spread of the disease, starting with a revamp in the way patients are tested for the disease.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

> An overwhelming 91 percent of tuberculosis cases in Santa Clara County
> have been in people who were born in a different country

So why not require all new immigrants from these countries to undergo a complete physical, and periodic testing for the kinds of diseases that are considered a problem in Santa Clara County?

Testing the children is one way to indirectly locate the active carriers, but it is very oblique, compared to going after those from the countries identified in the article.

Amazing how difficult basics, like sound public health policies can be, when public officials get tied up in political correctness, and all of its convoluted byproducts.

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Posted by scanlon
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2014 at 11:04 am

ChrisC is a registered user.

To Joe: The US government requires TB screening in the country of origin for visas. I can't remember if it's just for long-term visas, or from which countries, but there are many ways to get around this in some countries, bribery and such. However, that would seem the appropriate place to catch the problem .. before emigration to the US. Period checking here of the same person wouldn't mean anything except harassment, because I believe the implication of the article is that someone has brought it from the country, then certainly could've spread it to others if living in crowded conditions.

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Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Mimi
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm

To get a green card (permanent residency) you have to be tested for prior exposure. If you test positive, you have to get a Chest X-Ray to see if you are currently infectious. However, TB can reactivate decades later. Only 10% of people become ill the year they are exposed. Another 10% reactivate years later. That is where an astute medical community comes in, and why we need universal health care. We can offer, but not force, people to take preventive medication. (80% will never become ill in fact)
Remember, there are elderly American born people who were exposed in the USA in their childhood.
And, American born folks who do "Adventure Travel" are exposed as well. Several of my family and friends "converted" their PPD (TB screening test) after travel in India. I don't want to focus just on India, it could happen in many developing nations.
So yes, 90% of the cases come from people born elsewhere, but if you've enjoyed "off the beaten track" vacations, you, too are at risk.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

[Post removed.]

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