Tyson Foods and tuberculosis

One employee at a Tyson Foods plant in Shelbyville Arkansas has tested positive for tuberculosis. Another 64 workers are being tested. Tyson denies there's a problem.

The incident is "not an outbreak, but there has been one person to test positive," said Sheets. He said there is no risk whatsoever of contamination as it relates the plant's products.

Perhaps in a slight nod to the local conditions, the newspaper adds:

TB is most easily transmitted in situations where people are forced to live in close proximity, such as due to poverty.

There's no word on whether the workers are - ahem - "undocumented".


Skagit County: ripped off by Mexico, growers, racial demagogues, "liberals"

JAMA: Immigrants bringing drug-resistant TB to U.S.

"Mmmm... Tyson Chicken and TB"

"Illegal Aliens and American Medicine"


A number of communities in Northern Virginia have seen a marked increase in communicable diseases, most likely as a result of the influx of unscreened immigrants. According to a recent report from the American Lung Association of Virginia, 87% of the cases of tuberculosis in Northern Virginia were patients born outside of the US. Since immigrants who enter the US legally are screened for contagious diseases, it is not difficult to surmise the origin of most cases of tuberculosis in Northern Virginia.

In 2004 a nurse in a Chesapeake VA hospital died from TB. They were never able to determine exactly where she contracted TB; but in an effort to test her contacts, they had to test over 2,500 people. Over 120 were found to be exposed to it but did not actively have a contageous form of TB. Fourteen had gone on to the next level and two actually had an active case. One of the two died from other causes.

Now a hospital has good records for its patients, employees, and through these its visitors. How would you go about finding people exposed to TB at a restaurant or a day laborer site or at any place that employs a large number of high-turnover illegal immigrants?

It's on the rise all through the US.