Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger sounded an alert on more frequent and costly threats to the public health, referencing measles, tuberculosis, and even the Zika virus and syphilis, according to a statement released by the MDH on Wednesday as reported by Hometownsource.com.
“In recent months, state and local public health officials have had to respond to a series of infectious disease outbreaks including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, hundreds of new cases of syphilis, and now, the largest measles outbreak the state has faced in nearly 30 years. These outbreaks come on the heels of extensive public health efforts in 2016 for the Zika virus response and in 2014-15 for Ebola preparedness,” he added:
Minnesotans rightly expect a rapid and effective response to these threats, but current state funds lack the flexibility needed to deal with emergent disease threats. We cannot continue diverting funding and resources away from other vital public health services to respond to disease outbreaks and threats.
With state and local response costs for the first half of 2017 approaching $3 million just for measles, tuberculosis and syphilis, I respectfully request that the legislature create a public health response contingency fund of $5 million to ensure sufficient resources are available for immediate, life-saving actions to protect Minnesotans from infectious disease outbreaks and other unanticipated public health threats. Governor Dayton has given me his support for this proposal and we will advocate for its inclusion in any final legislative budget agreement.
Ehlinger’s request comes three months after the state of Minnesota joined the state of Washington’s successful challenge to President Trump’s Executive Order 13679, which temporarily banned travel from seven Middle Eastern countries and temporarily halted the refugee resettlement program until it was halted by a federal district judge on February 3.
Minnesota is currently in the middle of the largest outbreak of measles in over twenty years. As of Tuesday, 50 cases of measles have been diagnosed in the state since the first case was reported on April 11, 45 of which have been diagnosed in Somali Minnesotans.
Ninety percent of the 168 cases of active tuberculosis diagnosed in Minnesota in 2016 were foreign-born, much higher than the 67 percent of foreign-born cases that accounted for the 9,287 cases of active TB diagnosed in the United States in 2016.
Fourteen of those cases were from newly arrived refugees, eleven of whom were diagnosed with active TB in medical screenings overseas but were nonetheless allowed to resettle in Minnesota by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security.
Eight of those 168 cases diagnosed were multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, an extremely dangerous and expensive to treat form of the disease.
“The refugee community in Minnesota, and particularly the Somali refugee community, has been at the center of several recent public health issues in the state,” as Breitbart News reported.
“Twenty-nine percent of the 593 foreign-born cases of active TB diagnosed in Minnesota, or 161, were attributed to Somali born migrants. Almost all Somali migrants to the United States have arrived under the federal refugee resettlement program,” Breitbart News noted.
Minneapolis St-Paul has the largest Somali community in the United States, estimated to about 70,000 in total.
Since January 1, 2002, a total of 41,261 refugees have been resettled in Minnesota by the federal government, 16,386 of whom (39.7 percent) are from Somalia, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
According to the CDC, in 2000, the US declared that measles had been eliminated from the country, which meant the disease had been absent for a period of 12 months or longer.
Measles and tuberculosis – diseases that were practically eradicated from the US are near epidemic stage in Minnesota. Last year when traffic was heavy across our southern border, El Paso also reported a disturbing increase in cases of TB and measles. While the majority of Americans have been vaccinated and are most likely immune, this recent wave of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated leaves some vulnerable kids in our schools. How many and where are they? There’s no way of knowing.
Aside from the problems with the diseases brought to us by these poor waifs who just want a better life, there’s another issue that glares at us from this post. That is the rampant hypocrisy exhibited by the state of Minnesota, as well as others like Washington and California.
They don’t bat an eye before standing in defiance of Trump’s travel ban while supporting sanctuary cities for the very people bringing in these diseases, who’ve been rubber stamped OK for entry. Let them in, they say, all the while ignoring the safely of the taxpaying citizens who worked and helped build these cities.
Then they have the nerve to turn around and ask for money – from all the taxpayers and the very government they just thumbed their noses at – to fix the diseases brought in by refugees. Why? Because ‘current state funds lack the flexibility needed to deal with emergent disease threats and they can’t ‘continue diverting funding and resources away from other vital services’. Hypocrisy, much?
It’s time to say no to states like Minnesota. Either they’re united with the rest of us, or they pay for it the best way they can.