Tag Archives: Dr. Leisha Nolen

Los Angeles, failed city: After typhus, it’s leprosy; majority of patients from Mexico

The filthy conditions of Democrat-run U.S. cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are so alarming that even the New York Times has acknowledged that fact in a May 22, 2019 op/ed, “America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals,” by the paper’s opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo.

A day later, on May 23, the filthy conditions in Los Angeles prompted famous TV addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky to predict a major infectious disease epidemic this summer, putting at risk thousands of lives.

Dr. Pinsky’s prediction has come true. Last month, there were 124 confirmed cases of Typhus amid fears Bubonic Plague is also affecting L.A.’s homeless.

Now comes the news that leprosy (aka Hansen’s disease) — an infectious disease causing skin sores, nerve damange and muscle weakness which we associate with biblical times — has made a comeback in Los Angeles. 

On August 15, 2019, writing for Reuters Health, Will Boggs, M.D., reports:

Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is rarely seen in the United States, but cases continue to emerge in Los Angeles County, a new report says.

“Hansen’s disease still exists, and we need to educate medical students and physicians,” coauthor Dr. Maria Teresa Ochoa from Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, told Reuters Health by email.

Dr. Ochoa and colleagues identified 187 patients with the disease in a review of medical records from their leprosy clinic 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 team reports JAMA Dermatology, online August 7.

Multibacillary leprosy (MB) cases outnumbered paucibacillary leprosy (PB) cases by nearly eight to one (88.6% vs. 11.4%, respectively), and Latino patients were more likely than non-Latino patients to have MB, as were patients from Central or South America (versus other regions).

Most patients (80.7%) received multidrug therapy, and most (92.6%) received antibiotics for more than two years, especially if they had MB.

Only about half of patients (56.7%) had World Health Organization (WHO) grade 0 disability (no signs or symptoms suggestive of leprosy or disability) at the one-year follow-up, whereas 16.0% had grade 1 disability (loss of protective sensation) and 26.2% had grade 2 disability (visible deformity) at the last follow-up.

Among the patients who lost protective sensation, 87.7% (50/57) did not regain it following therapy.

“Early diagnosis is very important,” Dr. Ochoa concluded, adding that “we need to fight the stigma” associated with the disease.

In 2014, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 100 new cases of leprosy were reported in the United States each year; worldwide, the figure was 250,000. The study’s lead researcher Dr. Leisha Nolen, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC, said that most cases of leprosy occur in people born outside the United States who were infected before arriving here. (Source: WebMD)

Carmine Sabia of The Federalist Papers reminds us that it was Barack Obama who, in 2016, changed the law of the United States to allow immigrants with STDs and leprosy in. As reported by the Washington Examiner in February 2016, deeming the communicable diseases not a big threat to the United States, the Obama administration decided to let immigrants with three sexually transmitted diseases known for causing sores or lesions on genitalia to enter the United States, an expansion of a previous decision to let in those with HIV.

~Eowyn

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