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Given that a large number of the leprosy cases in the United States involve Latinos coming up from Mexico, Dr. Marc Siegel, an internal medicine specialist with NYU Langone Health, said “it seems only a matter of time before leprosy could take hold among the homless population” in Los Angeles County.
There are close to 600,000 homeless people in L.A. County and 75% of those people lack “even temporary shelter or adequate hygiene and medical equipment,” Dr. Siegel wrote in The Hill. “All of those factors make a perfect cauldron for a contagious disease that is transmitted by nasal droplets and respiratory secretions with close repeated contact.”
The article goes on to state the following:
A recent study from the Keck Medical Center at the University of Southern California–Los Angeles studied 187 patients in the United States with leprosy spanning 1973 to 2018. “Most patients were Latino, originating from Mexico, and they experienced a median delay in diagnosis of more than three years,” the study found, as reported by Reuters.
Dr. Siegel warned in his report that many diseases which haven’t been commonly seen since the “Middle Ages” are reemerging, especially in Los Angeles County. “I also believe that homeless areas are at risk for the reemergence of another deadly ancient disease — leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease,” he stated.
A study reported by Reuters said 187 patients were found in the US betweet 1973 to 2018 – with most of them being Latino, originating from Mexico.
Dr. Seigle wrote that over 20,000 new cases of leprosy per year are reported in Central America and South America.
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Is a Dark Ages disease the new American plague threat? | TheHill #Leprosy #homelessness #LosAngeles #plague can be treated but easy to miss in early stages @thehill @TheHillOpinion #leper #hansen https://t.co/ht37N1gqVd
— Marc Siegel MD (@DrMarcSiegel) September 9, 2019
Education and early diagnosis are key to eliminating Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Educate yourself and your community and separate the facts from the myths. Together we can stop stigma against people with leprosy #WorldLeprosyDay https://t.co/MzVIh99P2Q
— CDC Emerging Infections (@CDC_NCEZID) January 28, 2018
Leprosy Mission International denounced the report, tweeting last week, “There will be no leprosy plague in LA and we strongly condemn this attempt to demonise the homeless & migrants & to misrepresent leprosy.”
There will be no leprosy plague in LA and we strongly condemn this attempt to demonise the homeless & migrants & to misrepresent leprosy. https://t.co/VarqYb9Ckz
— Leprosy Mission Int (@Leprosymissint) September 11, 2019
NYU Doctor: Leporsy Could Hit L.A.’s Homeless Population, ‘Only a Matter of Time’ https://t.co/gOseqDWLEG
— CNSNews.com (@cnsnews) September 20, 2019
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