Jay B. Gaskill

The following two news reports are related. Can you connect the dots?

(1) San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2007


By Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer

A San Francisco man is hospitalized in critical condition with a highly drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis that killed a patient last year and is responsible for a string of cases linked to a South of Market residency hotel catering to the poor. The critically ill patient was diagnosed with tuberculosis in January and was admitted last month to the intensive care unit of San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Masae Kawamura, director of TB control for the city’s Department of Public Health, said the same ‘very virulent strain’ of tuberculosis has sickened seven men since December 2005, five of whom lived in the same hotel. Kawamura declined to identify the hotel, which houses about 50 low-income residents, providing single rooms for people who move in and out of homelessness. ‘We’ve never seen this drug-resistant strain among the homeless and marginally housed,’ said Kawamura. There could be a tinderbox effect with exposure in crowded conditions to imported, highly drug-resistant strains.’ Genetic tests have shown that all seven men were exposed to the same strain of TB, which is believed to have come from a Russian immigrant from Siberia, where drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis are a serious public health problem.

(2) Allentown, NJ Examiner, May 17, 2007



By Dave Benjamin, Staff Writer

The arrest of six individuals and the unraveling of a plot to attack the Fort Dix army base in Wrightstown, Burlington County, shocked New Jersey residents last week. Speaking on May 8, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Christopher J. Christie said, ‘Five radical Islamists, three of them brothers, have been arrested and charged with plotting to kill as many soldiers as possible in an armed assault at Fort Dix.

There are five men charged with conspiracy to murder members of the uniformed services, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of life imprisonment. They are:

Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, of Cherry Hill. He was born in Jordan. Shnewer is a U.S. citizen employed as a Philadelphia taxi driver.

Eljvir Duka, 23, of Cherry Hill, also known as Elvis Duka and Sulayman.

Dritan Duka, 28, of Cherry Hill, also known as Distan Duka, Anthony Duka or Tony Duka.

Shain Duka, 26, of Cherry Hill, also known as Shaheen.

The Duka brothers were all born in the former Yugoslavia. …


… [T]he three Duka brothers… first entered the United States illegally in 1984 by crossing from Mexico at Brownsville, Texas.

A Hint:

Note that two critically important facts have been omitted from the Chronicle account: (1) the location of the infected hotel; (2) the fact that the “virulent strain” of TB entered the US via an illegal entrant.

We have really two forms of pathogens here: (a) biological, in the form of a classic, contagious, drug resistant disease; (b) psycho-moral, in the form of an unbalanced mindset, highly receptive to the world’s latest cultural pathogen – the lunatic ideology of homicidal Islamism. Both are getting across our national boundaries.

I could end this line of thought with a single observation:

An uncritical, politically correct utopian acceptance of “one world, one people” will prove fatal to a very large number of people.

But there is more to say.

First, a Politically Correct disclaimer: Just as there are biologically healthy immigrants from Eastern Europe and other high TB areas, there are morally healthy Muslim immigrants – and some of them appear to have helped foil the Fort Dix plot.

But the larger point transcends politics: The global traffic in moving people, goods, services and ideas can be blamed for the introduction of dangerous new pathogens here and in other relatively peaceful areas of the developed world in much the same way that we might choose to blame the human circulatory system for diffusing harmful viruses and bacteria throughout the body. Without that circulation, we would sicken and die. But without cellular membranes and an active immune system we will sicken and die.

The boundaries between nation states function as the cellular membranes of civilization and their various police, security and military forces as the immune system. Our protective membrane is leaking badly.


Peter Finn, Washington Post

Friday, May 4, 2007

Moscow — A virulent strain of tuberculosis resisstant to most available drugs is surfacing around the globe, raising fears of a pandemic that could devastate efforts to contain TB…

At least 50 percent of those who contract this strain of TB will die of it, according to medical experts. In trying to stop the spread of the disease, which can be transmitted through coughing, spitting or even speaking, health officials have imposed sometimes extreme controls on infected people.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Report

In 2006, the TB rate among foreign-born persons in the United States was 9.5 times that of U.S.-born persons

As defined by US immigration law, immigrants are persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the US. In 2000 alone 850,000 immigrants were granted legal permanent residence status including 152,000 <15 years old. This number does not include some migrants who are not counted as lawful permanent residents or illegal immigrants.

As the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) has decreased, the TB among foreign-born persons is of increasing importance. Throughout the 1990s the TB rate for foreign-born persons was at least 4-5 times that for US-born persons. The proportion of TB cases in foreign-born individuals increased to 42% in 1998.

To address the higher rate of TB among foreign-born persons in the United States and the increasing proportion of cases they represent, CDC is considering several strategies (e.g., revising overseas medical screening of applicants for U.S. immigration). These strategies should decrease importation of TB into the United States and improve immigrant and refugee health.

Hospital News (

B.C. physician says immigration policy poses health threat

By Lynn Wintercorn, Editor

Dr. Maria Hugi

is a victim of Canada’s refugee policy.

“If the refugees apply oversees to the Canadian embassy, then our officials are supposed to screen them and they won’t let them in if they have communicable diseases. But a lot of the refugees just throw themselves on our shores and immigration picks them up,” says Dr. Hugi.

If people within Canada claim refugee status after their arrival, they are directed to get a medical examination within 60 days and before their refugee hearing is held. The problem, however, is mechanisms for compliance are weak, and many do not get the screening and never show up for their hearings. “The Hondurans who came over in August 1998 — 72% of them did not show up for their refugee hearings. It’s a gentleman’s agreement,” says Dr. Hugi.

Her exposure to TB occurred in May 1998 when she was working in the emergency department at Vancouver’s Mount St. Joseph Hospital. She saw a patient who wasn’t breathing. “.. a refugee from Burma who’d been in the country for eight months, so I thought to myself, ‘He’s probably not got AIDS or TB because they [Immigration] screen for those.’ I said we’ve got to be really aggressive with this guy and I brought him back [to life]. Then he spent two weeks in the ICU before he died. … If he’d been stopped at the border and received treatment for his AIDS and TB, he probably would be alive today.… “Of additional concern is that the man was here for eight months, possibly infecting thousands of others.”

Because of her exposure to TB and subsequent positive test, Dr. Hugi, who was 46, had to be put on a one-year course of the drug used to combat TB, which is very toxic to the liver in those over the age of 30. The problem with liver function tests is that “they’re not very sensitive. I think 60% of your liver has to be damaged before your enzymes are elevated,” she says. …”I just want everyone to know that when you are dealing with a refugee in a hospital, you have to be very vigilant. Put on a mask, use universal precautions with that person.”

Dr. Hugi now says not to assume that the government has screened for contagious diseases. … “If we don’t screen for infectious diseases and control them, “they’re going to run rampant,” Dr. Hugi warns. What especially angers her is that the government has rigid surveillance regarding plants, animals and fruit crossing the border, but not refugees. “It really does have dire implications for health care workers. We bear the brunt of all this nonsense at the border.”


All of the available stories, statistics and example corroborate that wide open borders are life threatening to those of us who live here. In a recent statement, Markku Niskala, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said –

“The drug resistance that we are seeing now is without doubt the most alarming tuberculosis situation on the continent since World War Two”. That problem is soon to be ours.

At present, unlawful entrants into the US are not screened for pathogens, unless and until they are apprehended and even then only when a medical issue is blatantly apparent. Recently 6,000 inmates of the California State Prison-Solano were to be tested for TB. We can be reasonably sure that the human vectors of the infection weren’t screened before being placed in the general prison population. Will there be another Dr. Hugi story from among the Solano prison medical and security staff?

Let’s put left wing and right wing polemics aside to address the one serious immigration problem that trumps all the rest: We must quickly find a way to effectively screen those who cross our national boundaries, giving the highest priority for the foreign nationals who have been in locations where there are known risk factors.

If this means trespassing on political correctness, so be it. In lieu of -or in addition to- a national foreign visitor ID card (another modest proposal still “pending” in the partisan in-box), we should require a medical clearance card for any foreign visitor- legal or otherwise who has previously stayed in any area or region that has been certified by the CDC to harbor a contagious pathogen and for all illegal foreign visitors without exception, their claimed history of origin notwithstanding. Individual “mercy trips” to the US can be separately allowed, provided any necessary quarantine precautions are taken.

I am keenly aware that many local police agencies decline to detain illegal aliens on a mere “INS offense” as a matter of explicit or implicit policy. These “no arrest” practices are driven by a mix of “sanctuary instructions” from city councils and by budgetary restraints affecting the disposition of limited police resources.

The public health issue should override all these concerns. Local authorities must explicitly be given the power enforce a medical clearance card law by arresting and detaining for medical examination all non compliant foreign nationals. Local police agencies should be given meaningful financial incentives to carry out enforcement, and made subject to a federal mandate (strengthened by financial disincentives) not to ignore this new public health imperative. Like a lot of long neglected problems, the initial burden of compliance will be significant. But, in case you haven’t noticed, we humans are in a technological arms race against “smart” pathogens. Our medical technologies are just one step against the new, virulent forms of TB, staphylococcus and “agents x, y & z”.

Getting control of our borders is urgently necessary to give us the breathing space needed to prevent the next pathogenic holocaust.


Leave a Reply