The World Health Organisation has confirmed that immigration has boosted a new and dangerous drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis and that there were over 80,000 new cases reported last year in Western Europe alone.
Because MDR-TB does not respond to conventional drugs, it is much more expensive to treat, which means an even greater burden on the taxpayer-funded National Health Service.
According to the WHO, “rising immigration from infected areas” (i.e. the Third World) has “contributed to the rise of TB in Europe.”
If this was not bad enough, a large TB-carrying immigrant population also poses a considerable health risk to Europeans.
“It can affect anyone,” Ogtay Gozalov, from the WHO European regional office was quoted as saying in a news report. “Any one of us can be exposed to these diseases and get infected.”
The WHO went on to warn that “thousands” could die “unless health authorities halt the pandemic.”
The infection is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and destroys patients’ lung tissue, causing them to cough up the bacteria, which then spreads through the air and can be inhaled by others.
According to the WHO, 15 of the 27 countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB are in the WHO’s European region, which includes 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia.
Treatment for MDR-TB can cost up to £10,000 in drugs alone and up to £190,000 to treat if isolation hospital costs, medical care and other resources are taken into account, the WHO said.
Last year, the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) identified immigration from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as the reason for the 30-year high in tuberculosis infections in Britain.
According to figures released by the HPA, there were 9,040 tuberculosis (TB) infections last year.
This is the highest recorded level since another great wave of immigration in the late 1970s, also from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which pushed the number of cases in 1979 up to 9,266 cases.
To make matters worse, the number of outbreaks of “super TB,” a variant which cannot be treated with a conventional course of antibiotics, has doubled over the past ten years.
The HPA figures show that the number of drug-resistant cases of TB rose from 206 in 2000 to 389 in 2009.