TB Prevention Is Not a Government Conspiracy

In most cases, assuming that the Bush Administration is up to no good and plans to do the exact opposite of what it claims to be doing is a good first principle (unless you have a “kick me” sign staple gunned to your ass). The CDC alerting passengers that they were seated near a symptomatic TB patient is not the slippery slope of tyranny, but a responsible public health response. At firedoglake, there is an idiotic post about the CDC’s response to a person infected with TB on an airplane:

TB on planes: another excuse to restrict our civil liberties? You heard it here first….
This is great! I mean this is great if you’re a winger politician. Now you can scaremonger your way to higher office by claiming that those illegal immigrants are endangering your families once again. Oh no—they’re taking away your jobs AND they’re giving you germs.
Since TSA clearly doesn’t already have enough information to “protect” us, in the way that a local thug will offer to “protect” your car for a fee, they will insist that Congress permit our electronic medical records to be available for review to look for scary terrorists, now defined as anyone with a cough.

And here’s the selectively quoted part of the AP story used to justify this scaremongering:

Health officials were searching Monday for dozens of airline passengers who may have come in contact with a 30-year-old woman infected with a hard-to-treat form of tuberculosis on a flight from India.
“She did have symptoms on the flight,” said Santa Clara County Health Director Dr. Marty Fenstersheib. “She was coughing.”

Left out was this part of the story (italics mine):

Health officials said she was diagnosed with TB in India, but boarded the flight anyway. Such passengers are typically barred from boarding flights originating in the United States, but U.S. officials have little authority over who boards incoming international flights.
About a week after the flight landed, the woman showed up at the Stanford Hospital emergency room with advanced symptoms of the disease. Hospital spokesman Gary Migdol said the woman is in isolation and is in stable condition.

Oops. The CDC isn’t going through the other travelers’ medical records, as the author claims, they’re simply altering people that they might have been exposed to a serious, hard-to-treat infectious disease (multidrug resistant TB) which is what they should do.
So let’s review. The CDC finds out that someone enters the country with a communicable disease, and alerts those who are at some, albeit small, risk of contracting this disease. The CDC —not the TSA–did this long before Sept. 11, 2001 because it’s the responsible thing to do.
While I find explorations of tin foil helmet territory amusing, this kind of idiocy will get people sick and dead.

This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Fucking Morons, Microbiology, Public Health. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to TB Prevention Is Not a Government Conspiracy

  1. The Ridger says:

    Oooo, nice typo: “they’re simply altering people”. That could lead to some good quote mining 😉

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