Freedom Folks

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yay! TB Up in US! Yay!

Source: The Wichita Eagle
CDC: Immigrants account for most TB cases in Kansas, U.S.

WICHITA, Kan. - When the Somalian refugee walked into the health department of an Emporia meatpacking plant earlier this month suffering from active tuberculosis, he became the latest entry on government health statistics - 62 percent of active TB cases reported in Kansas last year involved immigrants.

“That is actually a national trend over the last several years, ” said Phil Griffin, director of the Kansas Tuberculosis Control Program.

For four consecutive years, immigrants have accounted for more than half of active TB cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2005, the latest year for which national data was available, foreign-born residents accounted for 55 percent of TB cases nationwide. Immigrants are infected at a rate nearly nine times higher than the native population.

In 22 states, immigrants accounted for more than half of TB cases, up from five states in 1993, according to the CDC.

“Tuberculosis is pandemic in all but 27 countries,” Griffin said. “There are so many more cases outside the United States. As immigrants come in - legally or illegally, either way - that is where the disease is coming from, because it is rampant in their countries.”

Last week, health officials reported that a Somalian immigrant working at the Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Emporia had an active case of TB, and the coroner determined the disease was related to his death. The man initially said he was injured while preparing an animal for slaughter and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he later died.

While TB in the United States was at an all-time low in 2005, progress to eliminate the disease is slowing, CDC statistics show. In 2005, the CDC recorded 14,093 active TB cases, or 4.8 cases per 100,000 persons.

California, Texas, New York and Florida now account for nearly half of the number of TB cases nationwide, according to CDC statistics.

“It is a kind of dirty little secret because it is not reported much. I think it is huge myself,” said Ed Hayes, Kansas director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which opposes illegal immigration……
Now, let's ask the obvious question, one that I'll wager never occurred to our "eager beaver" reporter on this piece: Of the remaining thirty percent that are not 'immigrant related, in other words, cases amongst citizens, how many were caused by immigrants?

Let's recall where we met the plucky hero of this piece at the beginning of the article...
When the Somalian refugee walked into the health department of an Emporia meatpacking plant
Let me lay on ya a little chef knowledge. There's nothing happening to the meat in that packing plnt that would kill TB or most other diseases. Even if the meat were frozen most of the time that only puts the bug into a state of suspension and as soon as you thaw the meat, you thaw the bug.

Think Chuckles here ever coughed at work?

Now, many would say it's alarmist to suggest you could get TB from handling meat prepared by Chuckles here, let me explain how it happens even if you cook the meat to the proper internal temperatures.

The simplest way is by touching an exposed membrane on your body, nose, eyes, open cut or sore on your body. All of these will make an excellent method of introducing the bug into your bloodstream. Is it likely, no. Is it possible, oh hell yes. It happens all the time and this is one of the things they neat into your head as you start out in kitchens, to not touch your face when your preparing meat and to be aware of any cuts or sores and make damn sure they're well covered.

Remember this too, I find people who haven't cooked professionally sometimes use plastic gloves at home. This is a fine thing but, all a glove does is keep the stuff off your hand. So if the exterior of the glove is smeared with blood and you scratch a nose itch with a bloody glove, guess what? I find when I'm talking to people who haven't worked in a professional kitchen they tend to see the glove as something magical, it isn't, and too often I think gloves actually work against food safety.

An example? Whenever I go to the grocery store I notice the people behind the meat counter have frayed and tattered gloves on. What does that mean? It means they've had them on for far too long negating any benefit the glove might have imparted. One of the first rules of glove use is 'change early and often.' The longer you leave a glove on, the more likely it is you will contaminate something.

Washing your hands frequently with anti-bacterial soap and scrubbing under your nails with a stiff brush is actually safer.

AN annoying detail? In the eighties, due to the E-coli outbreaks, meat packing plants debated using a new system that would irradiate the meat before packaing. It was safe, easy and cheap. The reason, as I understand it why this did not happen? It would have raised meat prices a penny a pound! Would you have paid an extra penny a pound for meat to know your kid wouldn't get TB or E-Coli?

This is what you need to know about this story. If an individual with TB or another infectious disease is working at a meat packing plant or other food preparation facility you can get the disease, it's that simple. You and your families health is at risk from this danger. And the ongoing danger of these diseases IS being imported at a brisk clip with every legal and illegal immigrant we allow to come here without the proper controls against disease.

If you're wondering how I know about this stuff? I have worked as a chef and cook for over 25 years. I have toured meat packing plants. I'll see if I can scare up a photo of my ugly mug in Chef Whites and add it to this post in a little bit, those pix are on MJ's computer and she's reinitializing her computer today.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,