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Leprosy in U.S.: Not Just a 3rd World Problem Anymore

Leprosy is one of the diseases the developed world had largely eradicated.

The World Health Organization said that over about three decades, cases dropped from 21.1 per 10,000 people in 1983 to 0.24 cases per 10,000 in 2014.


“With the exception of a few small countries (with populations of less than 1 million), leprosy has been eliminated from all countries,” the group said in a fact sheet issued only five months ago.

So what about the new reports from Riverside, California?

That’s where the local Press Enterprise newspaper reported Jurupa Unified School District officials sent a letter home to parents just days ago when they got reports that two Indian Hills Elementary students were diagnosed with leprosy.

“We wanted parents of the students to know, we wanted to get ahead of any rumors and make sure they had access to ample information,” Supt. Elliott Duchon told the newspaper.

The classrooms used by the two students, who were not identified, were decontaminated.

The test results from the students, meanwhile, have been sent to the National Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) Program lab, and results are expected in several weeks.

While experts confirm that the disease is rare – some 200 cases are reported in the United States each year – there is concern it is returning, and there’s a renewed awareness of the threat.

Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a seminar on Nov. 14-15 to train people to spot and diagnose the disease.

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Seminar participants will study the current protocols for treatment, how to recognize what is a simple inflammation and what is leprosy, and what pathological changes the disease causes in the skin and nerves.

After all, in addition to the recent reports from California, there were five cases reported in just the first five weeks of the year in Florida.

And just a few months before that, there were nine cases reported in Florida in a little over a month. Also, one blog, Outbreak News Today, reported from 2014 to 2015 the number of cases nearly tripled in that state.

Also, Florida’s Bay County reported its first-ever case.

“It’s a surprise to most people that leprosy is still in the United States,” said Leisha Nolen, a doctor and epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at that time. “Doctors would be aware that leprosy is still present. It’s rare … but it would be tragic if they miss it.”

The National Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) Clinical Center in Baton Rouge makes available free consultations for physicians treating cases, free pathologic review of skin biopsies, antibiotics for treatment, education materials, and even surgical care and rehabilitation.

The disease, most commonly found in Texas and Louisiana, is transmitted from saliva and nose emissions.

The bacteria takes anywhere from four to 20 years to become evident. Reports of the disease date to biblical times, and descriptions of wasted flesh and loss of muscle truly are the substance of horror movies.

As reported in Health Day a little over a year ago, “Most U.S. cases occur in people who traveled to the United States from areas of the world where the bacterial infection is endemic.”

No details were being released on the circumstances of the reported California victims, but WND columnist Mychal Massie, at the time commenting on several outbreaks of leprosy, said illegal aliens routinely are bringing such diseases into the U.S.

“I may not be a lawyer, but I believe that Obama and certain members of Congress are not only condoning the lawlessness of illegals bringing diseases across our border, but are encouraging subordinates to do same,” he wrote.

“Private citizens as well as government employees have every right to reasonably expect and believe the federal government (and our local governments) will protect us from avoidable harm, such as knowingly permitting illegal-alien disease carriers to infect our communities,” he said.

“There are outbreaks of leprosy in New York; entire school districts are coming in contact with virulent strains of TB in Georgia and other states. There are outbreaks of dengue fever, Chagas Disease and flesh eating fungi. All that is referenced here is directly attributable to illegal aliens and now specifically illegal-alien children. The same Congress and federal government that knowingly permitted the secret use of LSD testing on Americans without their consent or knowledge is now subjecting us to known peril again,” he said.

Also, earlier this year, WND reported that leprosy was on the move in the southeastern U.S., with reports from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Today, antibiotics treat the infection, but for generations the U.S. had several famed leper colonies, including Molokai in Hawaii.

As of only a year or two ago, there were several patients isolated there.

Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch wrote two years ago that the problem was that diseases were coming into the United States again not just through illegal aliens but legal aliens as well.

She noted that in the early 2000s, as immigration was ramping up, there was a surge in the number of leprosy cases.

And a 2011 report at American Renaissance said, “Cases of leprosy are rare in the U.S. However, due to the increase in immigrants from Mexico, India, Africa and other Third World nations, there has been an increase in the number of reported leprosy cases.”

That report cited cases in New York, Texas, California, Florida and other states.

Another report said the leprosy infection rate for foreigners in the U.S. is 14 times higher than for those born in the U.S.

[Source: Bob Unruh,]

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