Delay Deportation Until TB Therapy Complete: Report
May 16, 2003
Many illegal immigrants with TB are deported from the United States before they can finish treatment, according to a report released Thursday by an advisory council to the US government.Adapted from:
The practice of deporting illegal immigrants before they finish treatment puts the world at risk by encouraging the spread of treatment-resistant forms of the disease, according to Dr. Masae Kawamura of the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. Kawamura, who is also director of San Francisco's TB control program, said, "Drug-resistance is a man-made problem. The reason why we have drug resistance is because of incomplete treatment."
Kawamura argued that deporting illegal immigrants to their home country before they can be cured of TB is "inhumane" because people can die without treatment and dangerous because people who relapse can spread the disease to others. "They can infect dozens of people, that's possible, on either side of the border," Kawamura said.
According to the new report published by CDC, around 150 illegal immigrants detained by the US government are found to have TB each year. The report also indicates that the rate of TB is 12 times higher among detainees than in the overall US population. The report, "Post-Detention Completion of Tuberculosis Treatment for Persons Deported or Released from the Custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service -- United States 2003," was published in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2003;52(19):438-441).
While all undocumented people with TB receive some treatment before being transferred or deported, the Immigration and Naturalization Service only requires that treatment continue until the people are no longer contagious, and it does not require that they complete the entire course of treatment. Despite effective treatments, TB kills an estimated 2 million people every year. Eight million new cases are reported annually.
05.15.03; Alison McCook
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.