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.