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Sunday, 25 March 2012

2012 visitors *will* be infected with MDR TB in London

There are not a few Public Health specialists - mainly level headed Port Health Officers and the like - who shake their heads in despair at the decision to locate the 2012 Olympics smack in the middle of Europe's highest concentration of multi drug resistant TB infection, in East London. It's like siting a cup-final game in the middle of a Cholera epidemic. Newham has a TB infection rate twice that of India, and ahead of Russia, where public health systems have all but collapsed; TB is currently killing 500 people a year in the UK, and new infections in London are reaching epidemic proportions.

Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney between them account for nearly 40% of the UK's MDR TB cases, concentrated in the immigrant populations from sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Many have developed drug resistance, and many are beyond the reach of conventional medical services. The UK government's refusal to implement entry port x-ray screening of new immigrants from high risk areas has meant that thousands of disease-bombs are alive and ticking in East London in the middle of the 2012 area. Add cultural behaviour among the risk groups such as frequent public spitting - guaranteed to spread the bacillus widely to Olympic visitors - and you reach a risk level that makes even me avoid public transport in East London.

World TB experts are meeting in London next week specifically to discuss the risk of the Olympics in East London spreading MDR TB to parts of the world where it is currently absent; the risk is not from Olympic visitors carrying the disease - foreign visitors to the games will generally be affluent and healthy, at least when they arrive - but the risk of these visitors becoming infected whilst here.

London Transport are unable even to eradicate endemic bed-bug infestation from tube trains that run in East London, so there's no way that thousands of TB carriers can be identified and isolated in time. It's one thing to give Hans and Lotte a nasty beg-bug rash, another to leave them requiring hospitalisation for TB. But be in no doubt, statistically the infection rates mean that it's inevitable that some 2012 visitors will leave with a MDR TB infection. Welcome to London!


Barnacle Bill said...

Dagenham also has a significant number of clusters of Bangladeshi MDR TB.
So another area for any Olympic tourists to avoid.
More importantly is there any health screening for this of the workers/volunteers at the Olympics?

DeeDee99 said...

Just one more result of decades of mass immigration from the 3rd world.

Is it too much to hope that at least some of our political elite end up being treated for TB?

Oldrightie said...

DeeDee99, sadly no is the answer to your question.Governments create ghettoes to corral their dreadful mistakes, not to visit them.

DeeDee99 said...

Ah, Oldrightie ..... but they WILL be desperate to be and be seen at the Olympics. This could be the only opportunity for them to experience the delights of a multicultural UK populated by the infected of the 3rd world.

anon 2 said...

For sure none of us with any sense will want to be there, anyway! :)

I wonder if the 3rd world emigres will get even more special priority on tickets? Hope so.

cascadian said...

Surely this is a feature not a bug!

As you note sensible inhabitants avoid public transport, those using it will be the brain-dead "sports fans" supporting a socialist waste of money of major proportions to glorify the "Olympic family" hangers-on. Selective reduction in their numbers would be a good thing.

I do sympathise with the poor commuters though, as I used to be one of their number struggling into the city everyday.

Perhaps some enterprising East-enders will set up stalls at the tube entrances selling surgical masks, gloves and anti-bacterial wipes.

Anonymous said...

This is a sensational misrepresentation. Tb in East London is at a higher than acceptable level but its confined to very specific areas. Can you really see hordes of tourists even wandering around the area between Upton Lane / Stopford Road and the Stevenage Road Railway Depot north of the District / Hammersmith and City line? Let alone going in to peoples houses and asking to have a sniff of their pillows? The kind of Tb you're talking about just isn't spread by interpersonal contact on public transport. Thats why parts of Newham in particular and a few other very specific areas in East London are identified as having a high instance. Not Highbury, not Stoke Newington.

PM, N1

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