This is from the Toronto Star.
Taking the cure in Toronto
As tuberculosis strains get deadlier, doctors find innovative ways to combat them
Mar 25, 2008 04:30 AM
In some ways, tuberculosis treatment at Toronto's West Park Healthcare Centre has not changed much in 100 years.
Today, almost every patient treated at West Park survives the disease – even though the hospital treats the sickest patients in the province.
The TB Unit, which can house about 20 patients, primarily cares for those who have other infections and health complications, including HIV/AIDS, on top of TB. And some patients have strains of TB that are resistant to almost all drugs.
Toronto sees about 375 tuberculosis cases a year, about one quarter of the cases in Canada.
Drug-resistant strains emerged because poor TB control practices in developing countries caused the bacteria to mutate. One to 3 per cent are multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB. There have only been two known cases of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, in the city. The World Health Organization has reported only 30 per cent of people with XDR-TB can be cured.
People who have active tuberculosis pass on the bacteria when they cough. Someone who breathes in enough of these particles can get TB, but only 5 to 10 per cent of those will develop active TB...
The majority of West Park's patients – upwards of 95 per cent – are new to Canada, and the hospital offers tutors to help them learn English. Avendano says some patients are very sick.
Not only has mass immigration contributed to the doctor shortage but it is also putting the lives of Canadians at risk. Why are these cases of TB in Canada in the first place? Those infected should have been spotted and stopped at the border and denied entry.
Given the mess of our immigration system and its ineptitude at spotting health risks at the border it should be no surprise to anyone that Toronto was hit with the Hong Kong born virus SARS. If it wasn't Toronto then it would have been Vancouver since both cities have sizable Asian populations. We should be pressuring our government to do something about this. Our immigration system shouldn't be a danger to the health of Canadians not should it be allowed to be abused by those who come here under false pretenses to milk our health care system. We simply cannot afford it both in tax dollars and quality of life.