Fear and stigma during Alabama TB outbreak

“Because our community is so small, to have this many people testing positive or dying of tuberculosis is alarming,” said Frances Ford, a registered nurse and health care coordinator for Perry County, which includes Marion, Alabama.

TB is far from gone, Leah Samuel recently wrote in an article in the Boston Globe.  The small town of Marion, Alabama has tested thousands of people for TB since mid-January and identified 27 patients with active TB,  100 with latent TB, and 3 have died.

I think it’s important to explore the historical origins of the community’s distrust. It’s well beyond the USPHS Syphilis Study in Tuskegee or poor quality health care for African-Americans.

The fear and stigma around TB goes to the roots of slavery and violence in the rural United States.

Why would people in Marion trust public health officials, when they have always been discriminated against by the government?

Black lives matter– except when they don’t.

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Thanks so much for visiting my website! Writing and reading blog posts does take time and we all know that time is in short supply. You and I will both get much more out of this blog if it leads to dialogue. If you found my post useful and wouldn’t mind leaving a brief comment or sharing on social media, I would be grateful. Or if you’re shy about Tweeting but are willing to email me a comment that I can post anonymously or send an anonymous Surveymonkey, that would be great. My posts are generally written quickly, so if you find any factual or grammatical errors, please do let me know. Best regards, Philip Lederer

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