In addition to the crime and homelessness linked to a continuous influx of undocumented migrants into New York City, recent reports indicate a rise in a potentially deadly disease amid the ongoing immigration crisis.
Health statistics reveal approximately 500 cases of tuberculosis diagnosed within the Big Apple so far this year, marking a 20% increase from the same period in 2022.
This current rate is the highest the city has seen in over a decade, with many experts attributing the surge to the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants in recent months.
A report from the National Institutes of Health last year stated: “Refugees and migrants are the most affected populations at risk of developing TB and other infectious diseases due to their living conditions. Poor living conditions and overcrowding in refugee settlements potentially increase the risk of TB infection.”
While other factors may contribute to the rise in New York City cases, such as “COVID fatigue” and reduced funding for TB research and treatments in the city, the extensive rate of travel in and out of the city is likely to spread this issue beyond its borders.
NYC health dept employees "who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly."
TB outbreak is worrying but so is the fact that our health officials are muzzled about it. https://t.co/CnXKiPxKTu
— Amy Maxmen, PhD (@amymaxmen) October 5, 2023
Elizabeth Lovinger of the Treatment Action Group noted that the data indicates “a more dramatic resurgence than we would have probably expected,” adding that “when there are particularly high spikes in TB and other infectious diseases in New York City, that tends to be kind of a bellwether for the rest of the country.”
Although local officials have not confirmed specific plans to address this increase in diagnoses, a New York City Department of Health spokesperson stated that the city remains a “leader in TB care” and has “pioneered treatments and therapies” for the disease. They also mentioned a contract with a local provider worth up to $500,000 to ensure New Yorkers receive care and that additional capacity is available if needed.