Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Drive by post --

Busy today, so here's my 30 seconds worth. The news media have continued to be obssessed with the XDR TB case, and as usual there's been 5% useful public education and 95% alarmist bullshit. The worst thing they have done is to pry out his identity and post his picture all over the web and the TV. Therefore I'm not going to link to any of the stories.

Yes, he probably was not very responsible in deciding to fly to Europe and back. There is a very small chance that he might have infected somebody in the process. I say a very small chance because he was not symptomatic and he was not coughing. But it's not impossible, and XDR TB would not be a very welcome gift. But treating him like a criminal, and even violating his confidentiality, is incredibly counterproductive. It's just going to mean that people who have, or suspect they may have dangerous infectious diseases aren't going to want to come forward and cooperate with public health authorities in the future.

And hey -- this guy is a white lawyer. With Lou Dobbs on the teevee every night ranting about how immigrants are infecting us all with leprosy, I expect we'll have a harder time than ever getting people to come in for HIV and TB tests and when people do test positive, we're going to have a harder time getting them into treatment. Thanks a lot CNN.

No comments: