Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Man with TB Jailed for not wearing mask...

At first it sounds so draconian, reading that a 27 year old man is being held in a jail cell with no idea of when he could be released because he refused to wear a mask that would protect others from getting ill. Until you read more about the strain of TB that he has:
The World Health Organization warned last year of the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB. The new strain, which has been found throughout the world, including pockets of the former Soviet Union and Asia, is resistant not only to the first line of TB drugs but to some second-line antibiotics as well.

HIV patients with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible. In South Africa, WHO reported that 52 of 53 HIV patients died within an average of 25 days after it was discovered they also had XDR-TB.

I thought when I first read this that this was the first time the US had been forced to take this type of action, however according to the title linked CNN article:
Texas has placed 17 tuberculosis patients into an involuntary quarantine facility this year in San Antonio. Public health authorities in California said they have no TB patients in custody this year, though four were detained there last year.

Upshur's paper noted that New York City forced TB patients into detention following an outbreak in the 1990s, and saw a significant dip in cases.

In the Phoenix area, only one other person has been detained in the past year, said Dr. Robert England, Maricopa County's tuberculosis control officer.

I do however think the conditions that Robert Daniels is being held in could be improved. Taking away his televsion, radio and computer as well as not allowing him to shower is worse than how we would treat people considered to be "real criminals".

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