Florida Accused Of Keeping Tuberculosis Outbreak Secret

All signs point to Florida being the most likely ground zero for a future zombie apocalypse. The Palm Beach Post reports:

The CDC officer had a serious warning for Florida health officials in April: A tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville was one of the worst his group had investigated in 20 years.

As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo’s 25-page report describing Jacksonville’s outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it – went unseen by key decision makers around the state.

That report had been penned on April 5, exactly nine days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.

Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. The public was not to learn anything until early June, even though the same strain was appearing in other parts of the state, including Miami.

Tuberculosis is a lung disease more associated with the 18th century than the 21st, referred to as “consumption” in Dickensian times because its victims would grow gaunt and wan as their lungs disintigrated and they slowly died.

It was early February when Duval County Health Department officials felt so overwhelmed by the sudden spike in tuberculosis that they asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to become involved. Believing the outbreak affected only their underclass, the health officials made a conscious decision not to not tell the public, repeating a decision they had made in 2008, when the same strain had appeared in an assisted living home for people with schizophrenia.

Treatment for TB can be an ordeal. A person with an uncomplicated, active case of TB must take a cocktail of three to four antibiotics — dozens of pills a day — for six months or more. The drugs can cause serious side effects — stomach and liver problems chief among them. But failure to stay on the drugs for the entire treatment period can and often does cause drug resistance.

At that point, a disease that can cost $500 to overcome grows exponentially more costly. The average cost to treat a drug-resistant strain is more than $275,000, requiring up to two years on medications. For this reason, the state pays for public health nurses to go to the home of a person with TB every day to observe them taking their medications.

13 Comments on "Florida Accused Of Keeping Tuberculosis Outbreak Secret"

  1. Can we get over the zombie mythos already? or are its hooks already permanently entrenched into everyone’s psyche’s?

    • Calypso_1 | Jul 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

      How else is the next ‘Final Solution’ going to be engineered?  Distributed chaotic systems allow for deniability.

    • MoralDrift | Jul 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

      maybe…i’ve always had an idea that the relentless zombies myths being pushed are just a rather roundabout way of telling everyone what is going to happen. 

      When the real economic collapse hits, you will find your neighbors to become quite zombie like, if you live in an urban or suburban area. Hordes of hungry, brain dead, morons suffering from entertainment and alcohol withdrawal will descend upon anyone or anything with food or booze.

      • yeah except the “zombie” affix on those people will be a bit too expansive, and the mythos only makes it worse. Learning how to rebuild after the destruction will be a lot harder after a prophesized age of “kill anyone who wants yo stuff” rather than a “help who you can” mentality.

        • MoralDrift | Jul 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

          theres no doubt that cooperation would be the most advantageous route to take. Considering the mental level of many adults though I shudder to imagine what they would become without modern convenience…what any of us would become without it. 

          But either way I think that’s why the myth is there perhaps to instill a high level of distrust among the populace, accelerating the rate at which they will exterminate each other

    • Ghostlore777 | Jul 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

      No, we can’t. We sit idly by, more concerned with who is winning “Dancing With The Stars” than elitist bankers stealing our money and ruining our economy. We shrug when our government ignores our education system and spends our money on military programs. We pick up the remote and change the channel when we hear that our government has covered up a severe medical outbreak…again.
      We can’t escape the mythos, because we are already a collective walking dead, oblivious to everything and focused solely on consumption.

      • I had a couple of friends that sounded a lot like what you’re describing, i was chilling with one of them, and we both had a synchronous moment of clarity, where she said “-sigh-, we’re all just… ghosts”. That was one of the last times I hung out with all of them. Sometimes people die (well before they stop breathing) and there’s nothing you can do about it.

        That doesn’t mean you have to sound all depressing, there is still much life around if you’re willing to look for it.

  2. Calypso_1 | Jul 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

    Funny how lack of adequate mental healthcare, street level medical addiction management & viable efforts to care for the homeless are creating costly downstream problems.

    • we’re at that dangerous threshold where an attempt to supply adequate mental health-care would make many in the mental health field feel they themselves were going insane

      I’d never want any mental healthcare professional to deal with me simply for the sake of their sanity.

      • Calypso_1 | Jul 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

        I have a weekly rotation in a day program that manages 200 severely mentally ill persons, many of whom are on the street, others half-way houses – only 4 full-time staff.  Hurrah for state funded (or lack thereof) initiatives.
        Hurrah for state funded (or lack thereof) initiatives.

  3. unusually unusual | Jul 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    Tuberculosis is a liberal myth. The real threat is and always will be godless communists corrupting our children’s minds.

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