Florida accused of covering up of the worst TB outbreak in 20 years

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Raw Story is reporting what the Palm Beach Post is reporting, that for months Florida has been dealing with what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control calls the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the country in twenty years. This is a must-read.

Back in April, the CDC warned the state to take action, but the public didn't know about the TB problem until June. It took weeks for the Post to get the records they requested repeatedly, ones that "should have been freely available under Florida’s Sunshine Law."

So much for transparency and concern for the health and welfare of Floridians. Raw Story:

According to the Post, the coverup began as early as last 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.”

That decision now appears to have gone terribly awry, partly because the disease appears to have already spread into the general population but also because just nine days before the CDC warning was issued, Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill downsizing the state’s Department of Health and closing the A.G. Holley State Hospital that had treated the most difficult tuberculosis cases for over 60 years.

Guess who was most affected? Poor black men. Most likely uninsured poor black men.

The Post:

However, the itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people at the core of the Jacksonville TB cluster are almost impossible to keep on their medications.

When health issues go unchecked, they spread. This is why it's so important to provide proper health care to everyone in the country.

In this case, the "underclass" was affected, and hey, why alert the rest of the state? And why should Rick Scott worry about one lousy hospital when he can save money preventing people he cares nothing about from having access to it for treatment? Besides, profits come first, so what was in it for him? He's clearly more interested in costly tests for drugs, not tests for TB.

Of course, now the entire state is in danger from this highly infectious disease, but that's neither here nor there. Scott was probably too busy suppressing votes and refusing to implement health care laws to concern himself anyway.

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  • r_dale

    Reason number 15,345 to never, ever, under any circumstances, set foot in any of the states of the old South.   Never have, never will.  I'm sure there are fine people there but they let rednecks, fools, and the criminally venal run their governments, and I won't ever darken their doorsteps.

  • Forget the moral indignation, if government cannot fulfill its primary obligation to protect the lives of its citizens, it needs to be replaced.   If the State won't do anything and the US government won't do anything, than the only thing to is for the rest of us outside of Florida to quarantine it.  It isn't like there isn't sufficient reason morally and politically to boycott the state, but now just stepping foot in Florida is taking your life in your hands.  The entire state is a public health threat to the rest of America, quarantine it.

  • I work with members of the population usually the 1st to lose services & believe me, all of us fortunate enough to have health insurance are most definitely exposed to all kinds of fun stuff. In the past year? MRSA, meningitis, HCV, & yes, TB. 

  • mmboucher

    I live here in Florida, watch Rick Scott open up his facilities for testing (at a cost and profit of course) 

  • HarborGuy

    Terrifying I would say.

    Another reason to never go to FL (sorry to all you FLer's).