Three Cases of Tuberculosis Found Among Illegal Immigrants in El Paso Sector

AP Photo/Andres Leighton

On top of everything else that's been going on along the wide-open southern border, now we have three cases of tuberculosis identified in illegal immigrants in the El Paso sector.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious, transmissible bacterial disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogen. TB is usually present in the lungs but can appear elsewhere in the body and may be latent in a person for years — with no symptoms. What is really disturbing is that there is now a completely drug-resistant strain of the TB pathogen that appeared in Italy and India, starting in 2003.

Historically, TB has been a big killer. Until the testing of dairy cattle for the pathogen became widespread, one of the more common vectors of TB was unpasteurized milk, but these days, it's more often spread by aerosol when an infected person sneezes or coughs. TB can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated. Up to 90 percent of people who carry the TB pathogen are non-symptomatic.

There is simply no excuse for this to be happening. Immigration should be a controlled process, and at this time, especially on our southern border, it simply is not. Border-state governors, frustrated by Washington's inaction, are taking matters into their own hands. Mayors of border-state towns are increasingly lashing out at the Biden administration. The administration appears to be in denial over the entire calamity.


It's not just tuberculosis. In New York alone, a variety of diseases have been identified among illegal immigrants:

Migrants could be bringing infectious diseases across our southern border. When they are bussed to New York and elsewhere, these diseases go with them. A recent study showed that more than 4% percent of migrants from Central and South America to Europe were sick with Chagas' disease. It's contagious without the help of an animal or a blood-sucking bug and can cause serious complications, including heart failure. 

Tuberculosis is on the rise in this country, as is syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that immigration applicants with communicable diseases are inadmissible to the United States, but they can’t be stopped if they aren't routinely screened before entering the country, as is the case with undocumented migrants.

Setting aside the politically correct language (undocumented migrants), what that amounts to is that we have a potentially dangerous situation with communicable diseases crossing our southern border. Not only tuberculosis, mind you, but also syphilis and other STDs; from what we already know of the rampant sexual abuse of women and even children crossing the southern border, it would be unbelievable if STDs were not on the uptick.


Screening all these people isn't practical. Honestly, it shouldn't be necessary. Close the border. This isn't the Industrial Revolution; the country doesn't need masses of unskilled labor. It's well past time for the United States to be a little more scrupulous as to who we let in. And screening for disease? That seems an obvious hurdle that any immigrant should have to pass.

But on our southern border, as during the COVID scare, the federal government is utterly failing to carry out one of the very basic principles of public health policy: the prevention of transmissible disease. Today, it's tuberculosis. What will it be tomorrow?

John Henry Holliday was unavailable for comment.


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