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Florida Accused of Concealing Worst Tuberculosis Outbreak In 20 Years 409

Posted by Soulskill
from the tb-or-not-tb dept.
NotSanguine writes "The state of Florida has been struggling for months with what the Centers for Disease Control describe as the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the United States in twenty years. Although a CDC report went out to state health officials in April encouraging them to take concerted action, the warning went largely unnoticed and nothing has been done. The public did not even learn of the outbreak until June, after a man with an active case of TB was spotted in a Jacksonville soup kitchen. The Palm Beach Post has managed to obtain records on the outbreak and the CDC report, though only after weeks of repeated requests. These documents should have been freely available under Florida's Sunshine Law."
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Florida Accused of Concealing Worst Tuberculosis Outbreak In 20 Years

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:19AM (#40610729)

    And, I'll also throw this in there: homeless people and the poor often are not as likely to be diagnosed, and, due to this and other reasons, aren't as likely to receive treatment. Oh, and take your ObamaCare issues somewhere where people give a shit about offtopic things like that.

  • But of course (Score:5, Informative)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:30AM (#40610809)

    Of course it's all Obama's fault. Even though Rick Scott(R) closed the last TB hospital 3 months after a report from the freaking CDC came out detailing the outbreak. [huffingtonpost.com]

    But hey! Don't let the facts get in the way of your Fox news deluded rant.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:32AM (#40610835)

    Florida just closed down it's only state hospital specializing in tuberculosis cases on July 2nd. Bad timing.

    Report: Fla closed TB hospital as cases spiked [miamiherald.com]

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:41AM (#40610875) Journal
    Umm..This was in Florida. And there are Republicans in the Governor's mansion *and* majorities in the state legislature. Nice troll though.
  • by bit trollent (824666) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:48AM (#40610933) Homepage

    The Governor of Florida, where the TB outbreak was kept secret in violation of the law is a Republican , you fucking moron...

    Like most Republican politicians, Florida's governor is a secretive, ignorant, corrupt waste of humanity.

    Your pathetic attempt at blaming this failure of Florida's state government on President Obama is both funny and stupid, which we all know is a hallmark of the Republican party.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:55AM (#40610973) Homepage

    But don't worry, this is all the evil Republican's fault.

    One of the reasons I abandoned the Republican party was because they could never face up to their own failures or take responsibilities for their mistakes.

    Think about that when you're standing next to the coughing homeless person at the train station or one of your kids gets diagnosed with antibiotic resistant TB. It would serve you right for sticking up for governor Penis Head.

  • by moosehooey (953907) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:56AM (#40610979)

    None of the linked articles even have the word Democrat. You're a spamming sack of shit.

  • by moosehooey (953907) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:59AM (#40611001)

    None of the linked articles even contain the word Democrat.

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:59AM (#40611005)

    Whos the governor of florida? Republican Rick Scott

    Which party controls both the florida house and florida senate...Republicans

    Who voted to defund the TB hospital in Florida...Republican state legislators

    Which governor said he would not accept federal "Obamacare" funding to expend medicaid which provides TB medication ....Republican Rick Scott.

  • Sack of shit spammer (Score:4, Informative)

    by moosehooey (953907) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:01AM (#40611011)

    None of the linked articles even contain the word Democrat. What the fuck are you talking about?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:15AM (#40611103)

    As far as population goes, tuberculosis is VERY transmissible. It doesn't usually get very far in most people, due to decent nutrition and health care, but it could. It's never good to have a very communicable disease like that hanging around waiting for something to allow it to catch on to the big leagues. Most people fend it off, but some people in poor health can succumb to it pretty easily. Anyone with a compromised immune system, poor nutrition, or just plain fighting off other diseases at the same time. It generally affects the lungs and the main problem is that when the disease is cleared from an area by the immune system, that area is replaced by scar tissue. This reduces lung capacity quite a bit. Also, it can spread to other parts of the body, and do the same thing. About 1 in 10 people who are exposed and infected progress to an active and obvious infection. The rest spread it silently. See the problem? It isn't immediately obvious or even noticeable..so the real elephant in the room is, how many more people have it than just the people that died?

  • Re:Vaccination? (Score:4, Informative)

    by El Puerco Loco (31491) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:20AM (#40611135)

    The vaccine doesn't give 100% protection and it also causes a positive reaction to the skin test for TB, so it makes it harder to detect cases of latent TB.

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:21AM (#40611139) Homepage

    It's somewhat pedantic, I know, but I work in education and this is something that far, far too many people a) don't get, b) don't care about, and c) don't appreciate its importance. When making a direct quote, you need to do more than simply drop a hyperlink to an original source to avoid plagiarizing your sources; you need to also name the original author.

    It's really, honestly as simple as adding "Muriel Kane of Raw story writes:" at the start of the paragraph. Make a habit of giving proper credit where it's due, especially if you do a lot of writing. It's easy to do and gives proper credit and respect to the person who took the time to write the words you're using.

    Yes, I have better things to do. No, I have no plans to try to sic Ms. Kane's lawyers on you. To be frank, there's a reason the editors were listed first there: it's their job to know this kind of thing inside out as a matter of professional competence, whereas you're just Random Person On The Internet. Still, it's important, and something worth knowing. That's worth at least a mention, yeah?

  • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:25AM (#40611159) Journal

    And when you can't pay the fine, because you can't afford that either, you'll go to jail

    This is straight from the law itself, under section 5000a, page 131:

    ‘‘(2) SPECIAL RULES.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law—
    ‘‘(A) WAIVER OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES.—In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.
    ‘‘(B) LIMITATIONS ON LIENS AND LEVIES.—The Secretary shall not—
    ‘‘(i) file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section, or
    ‘‘(ii) levy on any such property with respect to such failure.’’.

  • by glassware (195317) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:39AM (#40611227) Homepage Journal

    You're completely delusional. My relatives in Ireland, England, and Australia have much better healthcare than we have here in the US. They don't have to waste ages filling out forms; they just get care because they are citizens. And you know what? They pay less for their healthcare than we do.

    Yes, you heard that right: we pay as much in taxes for Medicare & Medicaid as they do for universal healthcare. Plus, on top of medicare/medicaid, we also pay private insurance. Here's a breakdown of how we pay through the nose for our stupid healthcare system.
    http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/oecd042111.cfm [kff.org]

    We should stop paying private companies and make Medicare universal. There's no reason healthcare in the US should be so miserable. If you still want a private plan, great, but stop making me pay twice what my cousins pay.

    Oh, and by the way, Australia is not a depressed economy. And no, doctors don't consider quitting over "Obamacare". Creating a phony survey isn't the same as actually doing real work:
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/07/10/comically-awful-survey-says-83-percent-of-docto/187029 [mediamatters.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:02AM (#40611357)

    Since you turned this political, which state's unemployment rate is dropping, Florida's, and so is every other state that elected a republican governor in 2010.

    Ah, this nice quote. Literally true, perhaps, but absolutely misleading. It's funny, but this meme seems to be making its away around the noise machine of late, almost as if it was a deliberate effort.

    And then you check it out:

    In fact, we also found that the unemployment rate has fallen in every state but one (New York) in the last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    So, in other words, despite the implication in Robitaille’s shorthand claim, there’s no apparent link between the party affiliation of the governor and a decline in the unemployment rate.

    http://www.politifact.com/rhode-island/statements/2012/jul/11/john-robitaille/former-ri-gubernatorial-candidate-john-robitaille-/

    Ouch, thanks for giving us something that's true, but misleading. It shows what you care about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:11AM (#40611395)

    Since you turned this political, which state's unemployment rate is dropping, Florida's, and so is every other state that elected a republican governor in 2010..

    ...and so is every state that elected a Democratic governor. What is your point?

  • Re:Outbreak? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by climb_no_fear (572210) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:38AM (#40611519)

    Sorry but the BCG vaccine doesn't work in most adults and there's a lot of work going on to find out why (here's a recent paper with a possible hint:
     
      http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/myvu/news/2009/05/21/study-of-ineffective-tb-vaccine-may-lead-to-new-vaccines.80590/ [vanderbilt.edu]
     
    and therefore treating the disease when it appears becomes crucial.

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:36AM (#40611785)

    You have your facts wrong, but in an interesting way. We never decided that we couldn't force people into quarantine. One of the first pieces I ever read on drug resistant tuberculosis included an interview with a guy shackled to a bed in a New York hospital because he repeatedly skipped his meds. I didn't dig up that story which my quick search, but I did find this NOVA timeline [pbs.org]. Check it out:

    • New York City detained more than 200 people who refused TB treatment in the 1990s.
    • The powers to involuntarily quarantine people were expanded after 9/11.

    And a direct quote (from the as of 2004 part):

    • The Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, part of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases, controls quarantine issues in the United States today. The Division oversees eight national quarantine stationsâ"in New York, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu. At present, federal, state, and some city health officials have the right to isolate or quarantine individuals who are ill or may become ill with a potentially lethal infectious disease.

    So we never stopped quarantining people. Anyway, political correctness has nothing to do with TB treatment, or with drug resistant strains of TB. From my readings, drug resistant TB incubates in Russian Prisons [lmgtfy.com] and Mexican day laborers, and in India [lmgtfy.com]. Given your self professed aversion to political correctness, I'm surprised you skipped over those populations and leapt to "immune compromised patients with no self control." You may have meant inmates in the aforementioned Russian prisoners, who literally have no control over their surroundings or their treatments, but it sounded like an unsubtle swipe at gay people. That part of your comment sounded an awful lot like 90s-era hate speech, which had moved from "AIDS is God actively killing homosexuals to", "HIV isn't a problem because it only kills people who lack self-control [and have un-Christian sex before marriage]". I have never heard, anywhere, that people with AIDS are contributing to drug resistant TB. If they stop taking their meds, they die.

    Lastly, you seem to be upset about "ObamaTax". That's okay. But to clarify, did you really think a government that can force people people to buy insurance couldn't already force them into quarantine? Or is the costs aspect that upsets you? Maybe you have some nuanced views, but you sure seem like a troll, so I don't mind feeding you LMGTFY links. But even if you are, I didn't want you worrying about our government not being able to quarantine people ;-)

  • by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @04:53AM (#40612075) Homepage Journal

    83% of doctors have considered quitting over obamacare.

    That story about 83% of doctors threatening to quit under Obamacare is bullshit.

    Slate had a nice story about it. http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/07/09/about_that_83_percent_of_doctors_hate_obamacare_so_much_they_might_quit_poll.html [slate.com]

    About That "83 Percent of Doctors Hate Obamacare So Much, They Might Quit" Poll
    By David Weigel
    Posted Monday, July 9, 2012, at 5:12 PM ET

    "Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association."

    What is the "Doctor Patient Medical Association"? Short answer: A bunch of right-wing Republican wackos, like Kathryn Serkes and Mark Schiller, who previously claimed Obamacare would kill off elderly sick people.

    "The survey was conducted by fax and online from April 18 to May 22, 2012. DPMAF obtained the office fax numbers of 36,000 doctors in active clinical practice, and 16, 227 faxes were successfully delivered... The response rate was 4.3% for a total of 699 completed surveys."

    Translation: 83% of 4.3% said they considered leaving under Obamacare. That's 3.6% of those polled.

    But most people who have taken a college statistics course would throw a survey with a 4.3% response rate in the shredder.

    They "considered" leaving medicine. What were they leaving medicine for? Real estate sales? Financial planning? Opening a restaurant? There aren't too many other occupations that can bring in a doctor's salary in the US. Doctors are always threatening to leave, but few do.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:08AM (#40612399) Homepage Journal

    20 years ago we had drugs to treat TB. Now it's becoming resistant to all those drugs. When people are affected by multiple-drug resistant TB, they can't be treated, and they usually die. That's why it's a big deal.

    99 illnesses is a lot. 13 deaths is a lot.

    The main targets for TB are the homeless, people with AIDS, and people in prison. It can also affect newborns, and people being treated for cancer or autoimmune diseases (who can get infected in hospitals). The US is a tinderbox. We have people flying around the country on airplanes. We have illegal immigrants who aren't eligible for health care (and are afraid of the authorities besides). It could spread across the country, killing off large numbers of people in those groups.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:23AM (#40613087)

    Ron Paul is the only hope we have to cast off our corporate overlords.

    Oh really? His new "Internet Freedom" campaign is all about giving corporations the freedom to restrict the Internet in the name of profits. If he's fighting "our corporate overlords" by campaigning to give them even more power, I think he's doing it wrong.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:01PM (#40618219) Homepage Journal

    The numbers are not important. What's important is the emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extremely-drug resistant (XDR) strains. MDR strains are difficult to treat. Some doctors say that XDR strains can be treated with great difficulty and expense, but I've read of cases of XDR that doctors couldn't treat at all.

    Here's where I get my information from:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra0908076 [nejm.org]
    Review Article
    Current Concepts
    MDR Tuberculosis — Critical Steps for Prevention and Control
    Eva Nathanson, M.Sc., Paul Nunn, F.R.C.P., Mukund Uplekar, M.D., Katherine Floyd, Ph.D., Ernesto Jaramillo, M.D., Ph.D., Knut Lönnroth, M.D., Ph.D., Diana Weil, M.Sc., and Mario Raviglione, M.D.
    N Engl J Med 2010; 363:1050-1058
    September 9, 2010

    Actually, we've had people flying in aircraft for years, and that caused major outbreaks of many infectious diseases. AIDS Patient Zero, don't forget, was an airline steward. SARS was spread by airline passengers. Like a lot of infectious diseases, SARS went from zero to 900 deaths very quickly. (The movie Contagion was pretty accurate, according to the reviews in the science magazines.) People are flying into the US every day from third world countries, and a lot of them have MDR and XDR TB. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp1005750 [nejm.org]

    As the NEJM says, the only way to deal with MDR and XDR strains is prevention. It's difficult (sometimes impossible) and expensive to treat MDR and XDR. Patients don't like to take the drugs for good reason -- isoniazid and rifamycin have serious and sometimes dangerous side effects, particularly liver damage, which is dangerous for patients with HCV or alcoholism. Many of them have latent disease, which means they feel OK but are transmitting TB. They don't want to take a drug for 6 months that makes them sick.

    Science magazine had even more pessimistic articles about XDR. They sent a reporter to the former USSR, where they have no functioning health system and herd TB patients, AIDS patients, and drug addicts into the world's largest prison system (the largest after ours). They had XDR patients they couldn't treat even when they had the drugs.

    The problem with Florida is that the Republican governor and legislature just closed down the very hospital they need to treat TB at a time when XDR is emerging as a real threat. They're privatizing health care, like the Russians and Chinese did (with disastrous results, and their antibiotic-resistant infections are threatening us). According to TFA, they're putting up TB patients in motels!

    And you can't just treat people for their TB, you have to provide comprehensive health care. Which the Republicans are also cutting back.

    This country is spending more money to fight Hollywood-fantasy bioweapons attacks than we're spending to fight real, documented, extremely dangerous diseases. There was a new bioweapons "sniffer" that cost I think $100 million, and turned out to be useless because of its false alarms. Who needs Al Qaeda when you've got the Republicans?

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