Medical specialists say the Marshall Islands have the most cases of leprosy, in the world. And the city with the largest number of Marshallese people, outside the Marshall islands, is Springdale. And [local Dr. Jennifer Bingham] says, it makes sense, then, that leprosy is spreading to the city. "It's from the Marshall islands; that's why we're seeing it."And:
Bingham says she is all for Marshallese people entering the United States, after proper medical tests. But whether they're immigrants or not, she says people must stick to treatment, when infected. And she says, when she treats those from the Marshall Islands, this doesn't happen. "We're not getting the compliance that is absolutely essential to take care of this process."
"We have known for a long time of leprosy in the Marshall Islands," [Dr. Joe Bates, deputy state health director with the Department of Health and Human Services] said. "It's a substantial issue in the Marshall Islands. And they are bringing their health issues to this country with them.And, from a different conference:
According to Bates there are 8,000 (legal) Marshalleese immigrants in Springdale. They’re the most unhealthy immigrant group in the state, known to suffer from TB [tuberculosis], VD, and leprosy. Not a single case of the latter has been cured. Bates also said that, in contrast to Hawaii, which has $10 million federal dollars for its Micronesian population, Arkansas gets nothing for its Marshall Islanders.UPDATE: From this:
[A compact between their country and the U.S., see doi.gov/oia/Islandpages/rmipage.htm] allows citizens of the Marshall Islands to live and work in the United States without being subject to U.S. immigration laws, but they are ineligible for Medicare, non-emergency Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and most other forms of federally-funded public assistance...It says that some of them might be covered by health insurance from their employers but that that might not include some of their family members. The thing to do here is at the least to require employers - perhaps including Tyson Foods - to pay the full cost for their labor. Expect instead "liberal" groups and politicians to use whatever means necessary to make sure that their employers don't have to do that.
Deputy State Health Officer Dr. Joe Bates testified that between 2000 and 2005, Northwest Arkansas had nine cases of congenital syphilis, six of which involved Marshallese; 38 people with infectious syphilis, 21 of whom were Marshallese; and eight cases of leprosy, all Marshallese...
..."We think there are two to three times more cases of leprosy than we know about," he said...
The Marshallese are on the lower economic rungs of Springdale's work force. During the night shift at Tyson Foods' Randall Road plant, about half of the workers are islanders. They are also common on the factory floor of Rockline Industries, which makes baby wipes and scented tissues.UPDATE 3: The first link to KSFM no longer works. An excerpt from the Google cache is here, which also includes a link to their video report: youtube.com/watch?v=3nexwbL4xMY
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is receiving reports from concerned citizens about a possible outbreak of 300 plus cases of tuberculosis (TB) and an outbreak of Hansen's Disease (leprosy) in Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties). There are no outbreaks of either disease in the state.
The total number of cases of tuberculosis statewide for 2007 was 106. The total number of current cases of TB in northwest Arkansas (Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties) is 21. These cases are under treatment, and the general public is not at risk. The total number of cases of Hansen's Disease in the northwest area (Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties) is nine. These cases are not recent infections...
Immigration2008a · Fri, 02/08/2008 - 10:49 · Importance: 1