This file from: Canadian Immigration Hotline Number 98 November, 1997

Coughing Up for Immigration: TB & Poorly Screened Immigrants

At its final meeting before Toronto metastasizes into an amalgamated Frankencity, Metro council “passed a proposal to open the downtown building [Metro Hall] every night this winter to the homeless.” (Globe and Mail, September 26, 1997) Something really IS wrong with Toronto. Elsewhere millionaire-socialists know better than to put themselves at risk. In this case, it will be fun to watch as the ‘new broom’ sweeps the proposal quietly under the nearest rug. Ten days after Metro’s announcement, Dr. Andrew Sonor, head of microbiology at Sunnybrook Hospital made an announcement of his own: “We have found rates of positive skin tests of tuberculosis at 30% to 40% for Toronto’s homeless people when the positive skin test for the general population is less than 3%.” … The average provincial and national rate of TB is 7 1/2 per 100,000. … The rate for the City of Toronto’s general population is 20 per 100,000.” (Toronto Sun, October 6, 1997). Those who read carefully will note that Toronto ‘enjoys’ a tuberculosis rate nearly three times the national average.

“In the last 10 years, resistance to penicillin has gone from zero to the rate of 46% in the U.S.” (Toronto Sun, September 29, 1997) In Canada, resistance rates to antibiotics are 31%. “Health officials in Toronto say the number of cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the city has more than doubled since 1990.” (CBC National News, October 24, 1997) How is it that our government has failed to protect OR inform us that this nearly-forgotten disease is ‘back’? Is it just a clerical oversight, or shall we assume that the welfare of the existing population will continue to be criminally compromised to an inexhaustable supply of newcomers? “Tuberculosis, not HIV, is right at the top of the list of dangerous infectious diseases because 30 per cent of the world’s population has been infected with it. … The disease is endemic in Southeast Asia, which provided roughly 40 per cent of all immigrants last year. And in some parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, as many as 90 per cent of the people have tuberculosis.” (Ottawa Citizen, July 25, 1997) As we reported last month: “One [immigration] officer said ‘nearly all Somali refugee claimants are accepted.” (Toronto Sun, September 25, 1997) Under the current arrangement, refugees have a 60-day grace period to show up for medical screening. While the Immigration Act states that Canada shall deny entry to any individual “who is, or is likely to be, a danger to public health or to public safety” OR “would cause, or might reasonably be expected to cause, excessive demands on health or social services,” it’s painfully clear that Ottawa lacks the will to enforce its own regulations. “The federal government finally apologized this month to the family of the New York man who was harassed and refused entry to Canada in 1991 because he had AIDS.

The government also agreed to an out of court settlement to pay $7,000 in damages to the family of Rowe, who died of AIDS in January 1995. (Ottawa Citizen, June 24, 1996) Canada has recently been enriched with a diversity of infectious diseases including malaria and hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and F! (Wash your hands. Pray everyone else does). The World Health Organization declared tuberculosis a global health emergency in 1993. Ottawa naturally responded by promptly and firmly — plunging its head in the sand, preferring instead to emphasize migrant/refugee rights and the dubious benefits of a completely borderless world. “With nearly half of all people in Asia already infected by TB,” (Press Release WHO/63 – 10 August 1994) little wonder that tuberculosis continues to gain ground. Short of a surgical mask, preventative measures against this pernicious disease are largely futile. “In 1994, four travelers who took an eight-hour flight from Chicago to Honolulu caught TB after sitting near a [Korean] passenger with infectious TB. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control suggested shortly after the latter incident that people with active TB shouldn’t be allowed on commercial flights.” (Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1997) The fact that non-smoking flights have permitted airlines to save a fortune by cutting back in-cabin air circulation should warm the hearts of the politically correct. “When a person coughs [talks, sneezes,- expectorates] for instance, tuberculosis bacteria are expelled from the lungs in droplets of watery sputum.

When the moisture evaporates, the bacteria float free. In sunlight, they can be killed by ultraviolet light, but indoors, in a poorly ventilated room, they can float for hours before settling to the floor. They’re exactly the right size to be breathed way down into the lung, where they cause their first infection.” (Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1997) At present, Canada requires prospective immigrants to submit to a cursory medical exam, a blood test for syphilis and a chest X-ray for tuberculosis. Chest X-rays are a notoriously outmoded technology, catching perhaps 70 per cent of ACTIVE (and wildly contagious) cases. Skin and sputum tests are the preferred method in countries employing twentieth century standards. In June, federal ministers received a report documenting some of the worst excesses of a hopelessly ineffectual health and immigration policy: Of the roughly 225,000 immigrants who came here in 1996, were some 60,000 people with inactive, non-contagious tuberculosis.[sic] … People with inactive TB stand a good chance of developing an active case within their first five years here. The medical examination administered abroad to immigrants “is inadequate for public health purposes.” The disease can be expensive if it’s allowed to develop. A few months of antibiotics can put contagious TB into an inactive state, but the cost is about $2,500. If the tuberculosis bacteria are of an antibiotic-resistant strain, treatment can cost between $25,000 and $300,000 for a single case! [the root cause of multi-resistant TB occurs when patients in underdeveloped countries stop taking the drugs once they feel better or can’t afford to pay for the antibiotics.

This allows the TB to mutate and become drug resistant, according to the chief of research at WHO’s global TB program.] Two-thirds of the 9,600 sick immigrants who need medical followups don’t receive them because federal authorities fail to fill out addresses and specific disease information on their forms. Newly arrived immigrants, visitors and students may not have adequate health insurance to diagnose and treat TB, and can’t or won’t pay for the treatment out of pocket. (Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1997) The report oozes with examples of active TB carriers diagnosed only several months after arrival, as well as those who eschew treatment altogether. One of the authors of the report, Dr. K. Helena Jaczek, has had personal experience with inadequate health testing abroad. The Southeast Asian nanny she had hired passed every immigration test with a clean bill of health. Nevetheless, it transpired that the woman had active tuberculosis. “Dr. Jaczek said people in the woman’s home country are very aware of TB and of the problems a diagnosed case might cause for someone trying to immigrate to Canada.” (Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 1997) Most of us will remember the man quarantined at Pearson Airport during the 1995 ebola outbreak.

He simply hopped the fence and vanished. No doubt prompted by fiscal self-interest, Ottawa is belatedly addressing the public health threat. Health Canada is working on a new computer model to assess the risk posed by 47 infectious diseases, a process they expect will take a year. Nor have the feds reached a consensus on which diseases actually pose a threat. Dr. Ron St. John of the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control in Ottawa says he does not see HIV as a public-health issue. “HIV is totally preventable and there’s plenty of HIV already in Canada,’ he said. …’98 per cent of the population is quite knowledgeable.” (Ottawa Citizen, July 25, 1997) But knowledge and practice are two different things, as a recent study of youthful sexual conduct and the Nushawn Williams case tragically attest. Since our government insists that immigration is an ‘economic benefit’, then we should absolutely be testing for a disease which costs “an estimated $100,000 to $180,000 to treat … the long-range costs of each human-immunodeficiency-virus case could exceed $650,000, [in lost productivity] according to … the Community Health Resource Project.” (Vancouver Province, October 27, 1997) And stop apologizing if we feel compelled to turn someone away.

This reckless disregard for a helpless population is typical of the ruthless desperados in charge of this collapse. The official line is that with new global market links, more Canadians than ever are travelling to, and presumably getting infected in, exotic locales. The fact that some countries will do anything for a buck is not going to make a case of active TB an honourable or pleasant experience. Even senior bureaucrats know what an infectious disease looks like. Ottawa should put the computer model away, scribble out an infectious disease watch-list and test for ALL OF THEM! Or isn’t it a problem until their own nanny tests positive?

You can reach the Canada first Immigration Reform Committee at:

P.O. Box 332
Station ‘B’
Etobicoke, Ontario