Asylum seeker from Nepal gets across US border with drug-resistant TB

Terrorists can come across the Southern Border and hardly anyone bats an eyelash, but will people pay some attention to the OTMs (Other than Mexicans) also coming across infected with deadly transmittable (and untreatable!) diseases?

The rate of active TB cases in the US is rising with the refugee/asylum seeker population.  I first heard of the TB problem with refugees when Allen County (Ft. Wayne) Indiana was having a problem with all the cases among the Burmese.   Here is one post I wrote in 2009 about active TB rates rising in Minnesota, and here is my post on a shocking video only watched by a few hundred people about refugees with active TB being readied to come to the US.

But, it’s cases like this Nepalese asylum seeker getting across the border into Texas (after traveling the whole globe) with the worst possible case of drug-resistant TB that gets the media’s attention.  Imagine health officials trying to track all those he came in contact with!

The Wall Street Journal thanks to Drudge (emphasis mine):

Drug resistant TB clinic in the Philippines. Photo: Leah Mae Damazo/IRIN

In medical isolation in South Texas, 100 miles or so from Mexico’s border, is a man who embodies one of U.S. health officials’ greatest worries: He is the first person to cross and be held in detention while infected with one of the most severe types of drug-resistant tuberculosis known today.

His three-month odyssey through 13 countries—from his homeland of Nepal through South Asia, Brazil, Mexico, and finally into Texas—shows the way in which dangerous new strains of the disease can migrate across the world unchecked.

Tuberculosis, an ancient, fatal airborne disease, has been treatable for decades with a cocktail of drugs. However, shoddy medical practices world-wide have enabled the bacteria to mutate and, in some cases, become all but untreatable. In recent months The Wall Street Journal has exposed widening TB drug resistance in hot spots like India, and shown that the U.S. is surprisingly unprepared for the growing global problem. Most U.S. cases of drug-resistant TB occur in people who were born abroad, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Nepalese man detained at the U.S. border carries a particularly deadly strain—XDR, “extensively drug-resistant” TB. His TB is resistant to at least eight of the 15 or so standard drugs, according to a U.S. government description of the case reviewed by the Journal. His XDR strain has been seen only once before in the U.S., in another patient of Nepalese origin, according to the government description.

The Nepalese patient was taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol in late November as he tried to cross the border illegally near McAllen, Texas, according to Department of Homeland Security officials. The government declined to name him.

He was transferred five days later to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Los Fresnos, Texas, and put into “medical isolation” with suspected tuberculosis, according to ICE. He has since been moved to another ICE detention facility, in Pearsall, Texas, with more medical staff, ICE said. He is the first XDR-case in ICE custody.


It remains unclear whether other people in custody with the Nepalese detainee might have been infected. By the time the Border Patrol learned of his infection, other people detained with him would have been transferred elsewhere, the CBP official said.

There is more, read it all!

WSJ reporter Betsy McCay has other articles on the topic.  At one point a month or so ago I thought the WSJ had a really great map of TB hotspots around the world.  I recall South Africa was one of the hottest countries for the disease.  But, I couldn’t find it just now so maybe it was at another publication.

For more information on TB, HIV, mental illness and other health problems related to refugees and immigrants generally, see our health issues category, here, where we have 144 previous posts archived.

Comment worth noting: Clarkston, Georgia saturated; refugee flow is being reduced

Reader Mr. Parker has sent us this news from Clarkston (below).    We previously mentioned what had happened to the town that was memorialized in the warm and fuzzy book—“Outcasts United”.

I titled my post at the time “Propaganda United” partly because it was being read across the country, including in Maryland, as one of those ‘diversity is beautiful’ One Books.

Debris from a condominium, left, in Brannon Hill (near Clarkston) remains five years after it was leveled. Units in several buildings, right, are in such poor repair that they have been boarded up for years. No money because area populated by Somalis says accompanying story. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

You might want to see what the General Accounting Office said about community overload in a report that came out  in July 2012. Clarkston is given as an example of how communities aren’t properly warned or prepared (see page 12-14).  Indeed no one really knew what was happening beginning in the 1990’s when refugees began “finding their way” to the town.   GAO tells us obliquely that one of the reasons the resettlement contractors don’t properly alert local governments and other “stakeholders” about the arrival of refugees is that they fear the local governments (and citizens generally) will object!

Is Georgia one of those red states being turned blue by demographics?   According to the 2009 ORR Annual Report to Congress (the most recent report we have due to ORR breaking the law and not producing the 2010, 2011, or 2012 reports!) Georgia was in the top ten states for refugee resettlement.  The total number of resettled refugees for 2009 was 3,258 (number does not include secondary migrants!) which doesn’t come close to the enormous numbers that went to California, Texas, and New York for example.

From that report we learned that only 24% of Georgia refugees able and willing to work found employment that year (down from 45% in FY 2008).   And, 51% of Georgia’s refugees are on some form of welfare (in California 80% are on welfare!).

Clarkston moratorium (on new resettlement, secondary migrants still coming)

This is what Mr. Parker (who helps refugees assimilate and survive in the Atlanta area) reported yesterday in response to my post on Red States turning Blue.  He says the Bhutanese/Nepalese are turning the area around Clarkston into Little Nepal and will improve it.

Thought you may want to know that Georgia is reducing refugee resettlement by 20%
and the city of Clarkston essentially asked for a moratorium.

The agencies agreed to only place folks in Clarkston if they already have relatiives there, as the city feels their resources are overextended.. What they do not realize is that many Bhutanese are moving to Clarkston from other states to be with family and because of the desire to be in the largest Bhutanese Nepali community in the US. We even had refugees from suburban Roswell with great schools and low crime move to Clarkston. As an experiment one agency placed 6 Bhuatanese in Roswell. Three have moved to Clarkston and one is going to Pennsylvania. What is ignored by the politicians is that there is a great economic benefit in Clarkston due to new ethnic businesses and that many families are buying homes in the area and utilizing stores in Clarkston.

If refugees are not placed in Clarkston, then there will be tons of empty apartment as whites will not move there and it becomes an African American ghetto. Also many refugees live in unincorporated DeKalb Count with a Clarkston address. Yes-our area is becoming a little Nepal,but there has been minimal crime committed by this population although some of the young men (5) have committed burglaries. No food stamp frauds either.

People also move to Atlanta for a better climate more similar to Nepal, a low cost of living and the truly international mix here. I am not surprised that other Southern cities are popular as it is no different then the rush by non refugees to the south over the last 20 years. I do not see any conspiracy by the way, I think the fact that is cheaper to live in Republican Southern states is the reason for placements and migration

On a sad note we had another Bhutanese suicide* in Clarkston-second in 3 months and 21st in the US. A young father stabbed himself to death. He was being evicted and was outstanding with rent for 3 months. He had gambling and drinking issues. He was Christian and his church was helping but no one saw this coming. The suicide rate amongst Nepali Bhutanese is twice the US average and was high in the camps.

There was actually a conference call with ORR on this issue on the same day that he died. Very hard to know how to predict/prevent this and suicides seem to be limited to this community mainly because of concerns about money, loss of community, family displacement all over the US and lack of language and awful jobs in the chicken plants, replacing Hispanics who left.

The photo is from this story about how the refugees flooding into Clarkston in previous years have driven out the white residents and brought more poverty and decay.  I first wrote about it here.  Don’t expect to see any balanced reporting any time soon in the mainstream media (including on Fox News) on changing demographics through refugee resettlement.

* We have written about the high Bhutanese suicide rate here.  Culture shock?  Twenty years of being cared for by the UN in camps in Nepal (in their own culture) didn’t prepare them for the joys of American cheap apartment living, bills to pay (like those airfare loans) and meatpacker employment.  Does it ever occur to the wizards at the State Department (Asst. Secretary of State for PRM in 2007, Ellen Sauerbrey, announced that we would take 60,000 Bhutanese over 5 years, a number we have already surpassed) that some people are better off being left in their own cultures and may not survive in America?