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Tainted cheese fuels TB rise in California (Health)

posted by bibleprobe1(R), 06.04.2008

Tainted cheese fuels TB rise in California
Unpasteurized dairy products linked to reemergence of ancient disease

By JoNel Aleccia
Health writer
MSNBC
updated June. 4, 2008

JoNel Aleccia
Health writer

A rare form of tuberculosis caused by illegal, unpasteurized dairy products, including the popular queso fresco cheese, is rising among Hispanic immigrants in Southern California and raising fears about a resurgence of a strain all but eradicated in the U.S.

Cases of the Mycobacterium bovis strain of TB have increased in San Diego county, particularly among children who drink or eat dairy foods made from the milk of infected cattle, a study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases shows.

But the germ can infect anyone who eats contaminated fresh cheeses sold by street vendors, smuggled across the Mexican border or produced by families who try to make a living selling so-called bathtub cheese made in home tubs and backyard troughs.

Scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine are warning that improved screening, treatment and public education are necessary to prevent the spread of the disease that now accounts for about 10 percent of all new cases of TB in that border region and, perhaps, others.

M. bovis TB is a disease of antiquity, said Timothy Rodwell, a researcher who led the study published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is important that it not be allowed to re-emerge as a cause of TB in this country.

Unlike typical TB, caused by the M. tuberculosis strain, the bovine variety isnt easily spread through human-to-human contact. It settles less often in the lungs, making it less likely to be transmitted through breathing and coughing, Rodwell said.

Finish reading this article at: MSNBC

 


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