Immigrant kids released into the country with Tuberculosis often without time to get help

Revelations 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues

The American Heritage Dictionary “plagues”

  1. A highly infectious, usually fatal, epidemic disease; a pestilence.
  2. A virulent, infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis (syn. Pasteurella pestis) and is transmitted primarily by the bite of fleas from an infected rodent, especially a rat. In humans it occurs in bubonic form, marked by lymph node enlargement, and in pneumonic form, marked by infection of the lungs, and can progress to septicemia.
  3. A widespread affliction or calamity seen as divine retribution.
  • Illegal immigrant kids with tuberculosis infections released into 44 states
  • 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.
  • “We do not know how often the sponsors follow through on treatment,” the Virginia Department of Health told The Washington Times in a statement. “By the time outreach takes place, the child has sometimes moved to another area or state.”

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Measles surging as COVID-19 curbs disrupt vaccinations

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) – Measles surged to infect almost 870,000 people across the world in 2019, the worst figures in almost a quarter of a century as vaccination levels fell below critical levels, a report said on Thursday.

Millions of children are at risk of the disease again this year as restrictions imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic further disrupt immunization programs, the report co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Measles is one of the most contagious known diseases – more so than COVID-19, Ebola, tuberculosis or flu.

More than 207,000 people died of it last year alone, the report found. With immunization coverage below the critical 95% needed for community protection, infections rose in all WHO regions last year to the worst levels since 1996, it said.

“These data send a clear message that we are failing to protect children from measles in every region of the world,” the WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

The surge in fatal cases means global measles deaths have risen nearly 50% since 2016.

The report, co-led by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cited a collective failure to fully immunize children on time with two doses of measles vaccine as the main driver of the deadly increases.

Looking ahead to 2020, the report warned that disruptions to vaccination due to the COVID-19 pandemic have crippled efforts to curb measles outbreaks.

As of this month, more than 94 million people were at risk of missing measles vaccinations due to paused immunization campaigns in 26 countries, it said.

“COVID-19 has resulted in dangerous declines in immunization coverage,” Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI global vaccine alliance, said.

He described the “alarming” measles report was “a warning that, with the COVID-19 pandemic occupying health systems across the world, we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball.”

After steady downward progress from 2010 to 2016, measles cases began rising again from 2017. The report said there were a total of 869,770 measles cases, with 207,500 deaths, in 2019.

WHO and the UN children’s fund UNICEF urged governments last week to act now to prevent epidemics of measles, polio and other infectious diseases.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Andrew Heavens)

‘Clear evidence of humanitarian need’ in North Korea: U.N. aid chief

North Korea's Minister of Health Jang Jun Sang meets with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcork in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released July 11, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS 

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) – There is “very clear evidence of humanitarian need” in North Korea, the top U.N. aid official has said during the first visit of its kind to the isolated country since 2011.

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Monday.

He met Kim Yong Nam, the nominal head of state and president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, on Wednesday, the North’s state media said.

Lowcock posted a video online outlining his observations after traveling to several areas in the southwest of the country.

“One of the things we’ve seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here,” he said in the video, posted to his official Twitter account and the U.N. website.

“More than half the children in rural areas, including the places we’ve been, have no clean water, contaminated water sources.”

Although humanitarian supplies or operations are exempt under U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.N. officials have warned that international sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs are exacerbating humanitarian problems by slowing aid deliveries.

About 20 percent of children in North Korea suffer from malnutrition, highlighting the need for more funding for humanitarian aid, Lowcock said.

Access for humanitarian workers was improving, he said without elaborating, but he noted that funding was falling short.

The United Nations says it had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November because of a lack of funds, and its “2018 Needs and Priorities Plan” for North Korea is 90 percent underfunded.

While visiting a hospital that is not supported by the United Nations, Lowcock said there were 140 tuberculosis patients but only enough drugs to treat 40 of them.

More than 10 million people, some 40 percent of the population of North Korea, need humanitarian assistance, the United Nations said in a statement.

Lowcock was also due to meet humanitarian agency representatives and people receiving assistance to get a better understanding of the humanitarian situation, the United Nations said.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel)

California Hospital Warns 350 Newborns May Have Been Exposed to Tuberculosis

A California hospital is warning that about 350 infants might have been exposed to tuberculosis.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose issued a news release Friday saying that a female employee who worked near the newborn nursery had been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.

The hospital said in the news release that it is contacting mothers who visited its Mother & Infant Care Center between mid-August and mid-November of this year. The hospital will screen them and their infants for tuberculosis and give them antibiotic medicine that kills the disease.

The hospital said its employee underwent an annual tuberculosis test in September and did not show any signs of the disease — including any symptoms. But when the employee later saw her doctor for an unrelated issue, the physician discovered the employee had in fact been infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tuberculosis is transmitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Nearby people can breathe in the bacteria. If the bacteria multiplies enough, they can develop symptoms like a bloody cough and chest pain.

The CDC said tuberculosis was once the leading cause of death in the United States, but there were fewer than 10,000 reported cases of the disease in 2013. Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body including the brain, kidneys and spine.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said it placed the infected employee on leave to cut down the risk of exposing its patients, visitors and staff.

“While the risk of infection is low, the consequences of a tuberculosis infection in infants can be severe,” the hospital’s pediatrics chair, Dr. Stephen Harris, said in a statement. “That’s why we decided to do widespread testing and start preventative treatments for these infants as soon as possible.”

Patient With Extreme TB At National Institutes of Health

A woman with extremely hard to treat tuberculosis has been sent to the National Institutes of Health in Washington as health officials are tracking down hundreds who may have had contact with her.

“The patient was transferred to the NIH via special air and ground ambulances,” the NIH said in a statement.

The woman reportedly traveled to three states before she felt ill enough to seek medical attention.

“The patient traveled in April from India to the United States through Chicago O’Hare airport,” the CDC said in a statement provided to NBC News.  “The patient also spent time in Missouri and Tennessee. Seven weeks after arriving in the United States, the patient sought treatment for and was diagnosed with active TB.”

The woman is now isolated at the NIH after her initial isolation in Chicago.

“The patient is staying in an isolation room in the NIH Clinical Center specifically designed for handling patients with respiratory infections, including XDR-TB. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, is providing care and treatment for the patient in connection with an existing NIH clinical protocol for treating TB, including XDR forms. NIAID has treated other XDR-TB patients in the past under this protocol,” the NIH said.

The patient, whose identity is being kept secret, is facing months or years of treatment.  XDR-TB sometimes requires surgery to remove pockets of infection.  Up to half the people infected with the strain cannot be cured.

Tuberculosis Transfers Between Cats and Humans

Officials in the U.K. have reported the first ever confirmed case of humans contracting tuberculosis from cats.

Public Health England reported that the two human cases are linked to nine cases of infection in cats. PHE reports that the two human patients have been responding well to treatment.

Veterinarians believe the cats likely contracted the disease from badgers or from rodents that had been inside badger setts.

“We’ve all become rather complacent because we haven’t been seeing TB for so many years but bovis is back with a little bit more significance,” Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore, a feline researcher, told the Daily Telegraph.  “It’s important we don’t get blinkered and think it’s only badgers and cattle that get infected. This is a bacteria that is not very fussy about who it infects.”

PHE reports at least 39 people have been in close contact with the infected cats and are being monitored by health officials.

US Airways Flight Delayed By Tuberculosis Scare

A US Airways Express flight from Texas to Arizona ended up being more dramatic than passengers had expected when they boarded.

First responders boarded the plane upon landing in Phoenix and removed a man who was told to put on a medical mask. A spokesman for US Airways said the airline was notified after the plane left Austin the passenger’s status had been changed to “no-fly” because of medical conditions.

Passengers told Fox News they were told to get tuberculosis tests and vaccinations by a first responder who boarded the plane while it was on the tarmac. Federal and Maricopa County health officials said they had no immediate confirmation the passenger had an infectious disease.

However, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health told ABC15 passengers “faced little risk of contagion.”

Tuberculosis can be spread through the air.

UK Raises Alarm On Superbugs

The UK is using the latest meeting of leaders from the G8 countries to sound the alarm over “superbugs” that are increasingly resistant to the use of antibiotics.

Scientists have stated action is necessary because of the rise worldwide of drug-resistant strains of bacteria including those that cause tuberculosis and pneumonia. Officials say the soaring rates of previously treatable diseases could turn into a public health crisis. Continue reading