Rural Marion, Ala., has a higher tuberculosis rate than many developing countries

Posted on January 19, 2016, 8:14 pm
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The New York Times recently published a harrowing article by Alan Blinder about hight tuberculosis infection rates in rural Alabama that indicates there is something seriously wrong with healthcare delivery for the rural and poorer parts of the United States.

The article states, “Marion is in the throes of a tuberculosis outbreak so severe that it has posted an incidence rate about 100 times greater than the state’s and worse than in many developing countries.”

Tuberculous was originally one of the main causes of deaths in of Americans in the early 20th century.  Tuberculosis is a bacterial ailment that has been treated successfully with antibiotics for nearly seventy years.

What is the basis of this high rate of Tuberculosis in this population?

According to Dr. R. Allen Perkins, a former president of the Alabama Rural Health Association, the answer is that “There’s not a culture of care-seeking behavior unless you’re really sick, there’s not support for local medical care, so when something like this happens, you have a health delivery system that’s unprepared.