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Tuberculosis has been around for centuries.  It’s been known by a number of names such as phthisis, white plague and consumption.  When I was doing a lot of family research a few years ago, I found several ancestors and relatives that died of consumption.  It was then that I discovered this was a name for tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis robbed my dad of his mom when he was only five years old.  She was a school teacher and would read to him and his 4 year old brother when she was able.  She died in her bed at home, and my dad, who is now 91 years old, still remembers her death to this day.

TB is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a bacteria.  It can be spread by contact, coughing, sneezing, kissing and shaking hands.  In most cases, it attacks the lungs, but can infect other areas of the body as well.  TB has killed hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.  A vaccine to prevent TB was first developed in France in 1906, but wasn’t used on people until 1921.  It wasn’t until after World War II that the TB vaccine reached the US and Great Britain.

By 1987, TB was greatly reduced to only about 5,000 cases due to the success of the vaccines.  However, in 2000, the number of TB cases started to increase and doctors discovered that it was due to a new strain that is resistant to the standard vaccine and antibiotics.  Today, drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis have emerged, some of which have a fatality rate of close to 60%.

Health officials have discovered one reason for the increase in the number of cases of the deadly strain of TB here in the US.  Illegal aliens are bringing the deadly disease into the US with them as they cross the border.

In Los Angeles, TB is spreading through the homeless community, which is composed largely of transients, including illegal aliens.  Since most illegals shy away from medical care or anything that could get them detained and deported, the disease can be easily spread through the people that they come in contact with.  The homeless communities lack many of the normal hygiene facilities which doesn’t help.