Heirloom Diseases

You’ve probably heard of heirloom vegetables. You know, they’re the ones that have been preserved by passing seeds down from generation to generation. Heirloom varieties are generally at least 50 years old, but many are 100 years or older.

While heirloom vegetables are actually benign–and frequently very tasty–it seems to me that we are currently witnessing an alarming wave of another type of heirloom: diseases. I started thinking about it when I read this post from Gateway Pundit earlier today, about an outbreak of typhoid (yes typhoid) in California and Nevada. Typhoid, once the scourge of many major cities, was nearly eradicated by the advent of clean water technologies in the early part of the twentieth century. Yet typhoid is back, and it’s not the only heirloom disease we’re seeing in America of late.

We’ve probably all seen the reports in the paper, on blogs, and on the nightly news of outbreaks of bedbugs in places like New York City (replete with video that’ll make you think twice before climbing into bed). But it’s not just there. Those little suckers (ha!) are appearing all over the country

You’re no doubt also aware that we’ve been having problems with salmonella. According to the Food Poison Journal, there have been 12 major outbreaks of salmonella across the country this year, none of which seem to be related to the current egg recall.

Leprosy is another heirloom that was once nearly wiped out in this country. But in northwest Arkansas in 2008, there was an outbreak. Sadly, it’s not just in Arkansas, either.

“…[L]eprosy is clearly here in New York, and our clinic at Bellevue Hospital treats more than 500 identified cases of leprosy. While most are Caribbean, Hispanic and Asian immigrants, in recent years we have identified and reported endemic cases in New York City…

Based on the cases we see at the Bellevue leprosy clinic, there are many additional unidentified cases of leprosy in the tristate area and the mid-Atlantic region.”

Another oldie once thought to be under control, scarlet fever is back this year, as well, and in our nation’s capital.

Tuberculosis, another throwback to yesteryear, is also making a come-back. Once thought to be on track to be completely eradicated by this year, evidence suggests that it will not happen.

The U.S. is unlikely to meet its goal for eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2010, primarily because of high rates of latent (dormant) TB infection in certain population subgroups, according to a nationwide survey…

Continuing basic TB control measures, as well as targeted evaluation and appropriate treatment of individuals in high-prevalence groups — including immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and poor people — “are needed to further TB elimination efforts in the United States,” Navin and colleagues maintain.

Typhoid, leprosy, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, bed bugs. All thought to be afflictions of previous generations, rendered harmless by better sanitation, better technology, better medical treatment. All alive and well here in America. Why?

There are many reasons for the resurgence of these diseases, but I believe one main factor has facilitated this deadly resurgence: open borders, which let in more than just illegal aliens. They also allow in the third-world diseases that some border-crossers carry. Close the borders, and you begin to control the diseases that piggyback in with the illegals.

This seems to be a microcosm of our national outlook–our government is not making the hard decisions, it’s making the politically correct ones. And until we change that, we’d all better get accustomed to bedbugs and the occasional outbreak of a long-forgotten heirloom disease.



35 Responses to Heirloom Diseases

  1. Anonymous says:

    Twitter Trackbacks…

  2. MDT says:

    My understanding is that leprosy (=Hansen’s Disease) has been endemic in the Southern US armadillo population for longer than I’ve been alive, just as there are reservoirs of bubonic plague in US rodent populations (IIRC, not rats so much as prairie dogs and the like). It would be odd if these never made their way into the human population.

  3. J Gregg, MD says:

    OF course, the TB has been in resurgence for 3 decades in the aftermath of the AIDS infections, atypical TB has been an ongoing problem for longer, and multiple-drug resistant TB is the bigger problem, due to poorly, partially, or incompletely treated patients in several regions.

    Scarlet fever – common, shows up in a variety of settings annually.

    Locally endemic leprosy – new to this reader – one more wrinkle to the “what is this thing on my…?” question.

    Just as heirloom seeds carry potentially interesting and/or valuable genetic information preserving diversity in the biome, so may appropriate stocks of certain pathogens – not for offensive or defensive issues a la Fort Dietrick (sp?), but for preserving that same diversity of information.

    Typhoid – contaminated fruit product, IIRC – very unusual – and potentially problematic.

  4. Hale Adams says:

    Another point to bring up is how treating water with chlorine is out of fashion these days. Yes, there are other methods of disinfecting the water, but chlorine has the virtue of killing all the way to the faucet.

    Oh, but we can’t use it– it’s bad for the environment, doncha know.


  5. MDT says:

    That map of bedbug infestations doesn’t really suggest illegal immigrants as the primary vector. Apparently your chances of being a victim of bedbugs are enhanced most dramatically by being in a large metropolitan area. If you were to go purely by the density of the red dots, you’d conclude that you were a lot safer from bedbugs near the Mexican border than near the Canadian.

    TB … well, IANAMD, far from it. So far as I can tell, though, there are two parts here. Yes, a lot of TB cases are coming in one way and another from the third world. But our serious problem is with the people we have been treating for some time. Take a bunch of noncompliant American patients and enough antibiotics, and there’s no telling what you might inadvertently engineer.

    • Mike says:

      Oh come now! Surely you must recognize the real problem lies in Mexico with TB. Mexicans buy antibiotics over the counter there and use just enough to “feel better”. Of course, they don’t kill the antigen, just desensitize it to antibiotic therapy. Any 1st semester pathology student knows this. The results are many drug resistant diseases. When we let infected 3rd world illegals into our Country, they disseminate 3rd world diseases we have almost forgotten about because of the success of our public health department. People’s children are being infected for the sake of political correctness. We will soon have the same level of public health as freakin’ Uganda. Happy Progressives?????

  6. FozzyBear says:

    Whooping cough is back too (google it), with several deaths in California. That’s not due to third world immigration, but from quacks on Oprah scaring people into not vaccinating their kids, by peddling the myth that vaccines cause autism.

    • MetooAZ says:

      I agree whole heartily on this – having contracted Whooping Cough in 2006. And yes, I worked with tribal locations and rural areas. Got ill, went to many clinics where they just said it was upper respiratory and here’s the pills $$ later…After breaking my second rib from not being able to get wind inside my lungs to cough it out – the lung Doc noted I either had Pertussis (Whooping Cough – because of my cough) or obstruction in my throat – BINGO both. Jan. to Sept. it’s was hard to sleep sitting up in a chair until it’s gone – once a wiped out disease – IT’S BACK…and I don’t wish it on anyone…of course then, working in Public Health…TB vaccines in Mexico use “live” viruses – they show a false positive if they are tested in the US…so do they or don’t they have the disease if they show up in the ER?

      • MetooAZ says:

        P.S. Oh and on the DTAP vaccine set – got mine back in 1998 – did not quite make that ten year stretch of prevention. Had to wait until 2007 to get another vaccine….because there are 8 strains of Pertussis – just getting it once does not protect you from the other 7 strains!

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    I believe Ellis Island had a medical exam. Failing meant you went back.

    • Joe Blow says:

      True…..Just look at the ship manifest records available on genealogy sites They log in the health of the immigrants along with who they were going to live with so they wouldn’t be a ward of the state and if they were able to read and write. I have seen some that were rejected due to their health.

  8. Mike C says:

    Dateline DC: In line with recent cost-containment and environmental-sensitivity initiatives, the Department of Health and Human Services has decreed that these heirloom diseases are to be managed only with appropriate heirloom treatments.

    Distribution of asafoetida bags will commence immediately.

  9. J. B. says:

    Plague is endemic west of the Rockies, introduced from Asia in the late Nineteenth Century–much of the fire that destroyed San Francisco after the earthquake is thought to have been deliberately set to destroy the rat population. Since fleas cannot survive altitudes greater that 5000 feet (internal pressure from the rubbery built-in spring that enables the jumping causes them to explode–Scientific American had an article many years ago), and since the Continental Divide is higher, it is not going to move East without human assistance. It is probably under-reported in the West, largely for political reasons

    An increase in mosquito-borne illness like malaria and dengue fever is accompanying environmental policies restoring mosquito breeding grounds, known to the PC types as wetland restoration. Malaria once ravaged most of the U.S east of the Rockies; as I recall, dengue fever is native to the Mississippi basin.

    The return of scarlet fever (strept throat on steroids)is frightening, I’ve seen references to epidemics that killed tens of thousands in the U.S. before the invention of antibiotics, my great-grandmother died in the 1906 epidemic.

    The one I fear returning is cholera, which would accompany a laxness in water treatment. Twice (1833, 1853) cholera pandemics killed thirty to forty million Americans, reducing the population of cities by more than half.

    The problem is that historians are notably shy about reporting disease. Wars and gossip are more likely to sell books, so people forget to be prepared about what is crucial to the survival of society. Smallpox, measles an plague had more to do with the destruction of the Roman Empire than barbarians, reducing the population by some ninety percent (MacNeill, Plagues and People)

  10. Peter says:

    Sanford Health is notifying 77 patients and 43 employees that they may have been exposed to tuberculosis after a Fargo doctor was recently diagnosed with an active form of the disease, the hospital announced Friday.


    Happy Happy Joy Joy

  11. humdinger says:

    I’ve been in Primary Care for 15 years, and just diagnosed a case of Pertussis, or whooping cough, in an adult. It’s the first case that I’ve seen, that I am aware of. It’s known as the “90 Day Cough” in adults, and that was the brain trigger to do the test. Adults under 65 need to get their tDap vaccine – also known as Tetanus, Diptheria & acellular Pertussis.

    • SonnyJim says:

      We are now airing PSA’s about whooping cough in California because of its recent resurgence. The illegal immigrant population is most at-risk for obvious reasons. As with Typhus, the major threat is to anti-vaccine Luddites who are also experiencing resurgent chicken pox, measles, rubella, and other diseases that should have disappeared this generation. Call them Enviro-Luddites or Eco-Luddites. Just goes to show you that people don’t need religion to fashion superstitions from.

      • Rob Smith says:

        It would seem to me the assumption that the increase in various communicable diseases is the fault anti-vaccine “luddites” (aka concerned parents, skeptical of vaccine industry propoganda) is rather unscientific. Remember, “correlation doesn’t equal causation”. Without a lot more information its impossible to draw conclusions about the origins of the increase, or, if in fact it is an actual increase, rather than better reporting or the result of expanded diagnostic criteria.

        BTW – calling your opponents names is not really a good way to advance your arguement. Neither is assuming that the people who disagree with you are stupid. Just FYSA.

  12. […] the original post: Heirloom Diseases « Grand Rants P.S. If you like this post, you can share it to Twitter or add it to […]

  13. […] Heirloom Diseases You’ve probably heard of heirloom vegetables. You know, they’re the ones that have been preserved by […] […]

  14. Wacky Hermit says:

    In all fairness, you can’t blame salmonella outbreaks on illegal aliens. Nationwide salmonella contamination is a symptom of an increasingly regulated food industry. The greater the regulatory burden, the more sense it makes to centralize food processing. Centralized food processing leads to ginormous nationwide outbreaks instead of small local outbreaks. And nationwide outbreaks are met with even more regulation. Congress is creating the problem it is trying to solve.

    • Micha Elyi says:

      In all fairness, the number of illegal aliens does correlate with the number of salmonella outbreaks. Why? Because many aliens (illegal or not) and recent immigrants have very poor sanitary practices.

  15. […] Heirloom Diseases « Grand Rants […]

  16. Milwaukee says:

    Once upon a time, Ellis Island was famous for screening potential immigrants for diseases or mental defects. Yes, close the borders. While not all diseases are coming that way, enough will to justify such actions. A country which doesn’t control it’s own borders, isn’t a country.

  17. Sigivald says:

    Bedbugs aren’t a disease, and salmonella has never been eradicated, so it’s not surprising it’s still around.

    Likewise with leprosy and plague, as others have said – they have non-human reservoirs in nature, so naturally there will be infections here and there.

    Plague and leprosy aren’t “coming back” until they’re un-treatable and epidemic, which they aren’t.

    (Rob: When people don’t get their kids vaccinated, they’re… creating a reservoir of people without immunity, completely undercutting the herd immunity that protects everyone.

    The issue has been studied already, turns out, and while it’s really hard to prove causation, the correlation between easy exemption from vaccination and incidence of pertussis is plenty clear.

    “States with easy procedures for granting exemptions were associated with a 90% higher incidence of pertussis (…) and states with a medium difficulty for granting exemptions were associated with a 27% higher incidence of pertussis (…) compared with states with difficult procedures to obtain exemptions.

    Pertussis incidence was 41% higher for states that considered parental signature as sufficient proof of immunization compared with states that did not.”

    It appears very difficult at a glance to think of an alternative explanation for those correlations – remember that whenever there’s causation there is necessarily also correlation.)

  18. […] happen soon enough, based on this Return of the Primitive moment spotted by The Grand Rants blog this weekend: You’ve probably heard of heirloom vegetables. You know, they’re the ones that have been […]

  19. Leon Haller says:

    Wake up, folks! Repeat after me: “Third World People = Third World Country”.
    What’s not to understand? In my own lifetime I have witnessed the collapse of America and the entire Western world. It is all due to one factor: race. Or, our refusal to recognize, indeed our demonization of, what our ancestors took for granted: the view that whites, on the whole, are simply better than other races (with the various Negroid species at the bottom). Could such plain truth possibly be construed as offensive? Why do we fool ourselves? Why do we insist that “diversity” is anything other than an abysmal lowering of our national quality of life? Why don’t we start admitting that America would be better if America were WHITER? And then acting on our new realization …

  20. […] Heirloom Diseases « Grand Rants […]

  21. getting rid of bats…

    Heirloom Diseases « Grand Rants…

  22. Porter Lung says:

    Scarlet fever is an age-old childhood scourge that has been rare in the United States since 1970. Caused by group A strep infection, the illness causes fever, sore throat, white spots on the tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, a bright-red “strawberry” tongue, and a tell-tale red rash that starts on the abdomen and spreads throughout the body within two days. Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics, but the new Hong Kong strain appears to be resistant to at least two commonly used drugs.;

    My very own blog site

  23. Jeff Crutch says:

    I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks , I¡¦ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?

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