It is learned that leprosy gets diagnosed somewhere in the world at the rate of 1 case every 60 seconds. However, its outbreak is very rare in the United States. Only about 130 cases are discovered each year. This is found mostly among immigrants from Mexico, India and the Caribbean. The number has doubled from what it was in the year 2000.
Leprosy is found more in states like Texas, California and New York, where there is a large immigrant population. About two dozen new cases of leprosy are found in US-born patients each year and this number has continued to remain same for decades. Many immigrants, who are diagnosed with leprosy, are suspected to reach America mainly to seek treatment for the disease. As this disease remains contagious till the patient receives first course of medication, it is feared that untreated patients among the immigrants may become source of infection to others.
This is a disease which is not easy to diagnose mainly for the doctors with no previous experience about leprosy. A recent study has reported that an average patient with leprosy symptoms takes two years before he gets an accurate diagnosis in the United States. In the mean time, he is a carrier of this disease as he has not received his first course of medication yet and has the ability to infect other people.
Anti-immigrant activists use such data to build a strong case against immigrants in general and illegal immigrants in particular. The clinics that provide free care to illegal immigrants can some time become their target.
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