The word of a Skid Row TB “outbreak” traveled quickly. Local, National and International media outlets picked up the story and ran with it–most forgot to check the facts. Concerned family members and supporters called and emailed LA CAN members to make sure they were okay and taking all of the necessary precautions. The story created an environment of fear and panic and those elected and paid to assuage those fears were nowhere to be found.
Just imagine if you lived in or near an area where the LA Times reported the following:
“LAPD officers who patrol the area have long been warned to be on the lookout for people on the street who exhibit symptoms of communicable diseases which include Hepatitis to HIV and staph infections to drug-resistant TB. Officers must also contend with individuals who have parasitic conditions like scabies and lice.”
”The email also recommends that officers carry protective masks them with them into the field and don them “if officers have reason to believe an individual is infected with TB.”"
You would definitely be afraid, right? However, how would you feel if the truth sounded more like this?:
Becky Dennison, Co-Director LA CAN, facilitated a robust conversation between skid row community residents and officials from the Department of Public Health. As you could imagine there would be many questions, concerns and recommendations offered by residents:
There were many facts offered by the media that LA CAN challenged, and come to find out so did the Department of Public Health.
“Public health officials have launched a new, coordinated attack to contain a persistent outbreak of tuberculosis on downtown Los Angeles’ skid row, including a search for more than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the disease.”
“Local and federal officials are particularly concerned because the cases are linked to one relatively small geographic area and one vulnerable population. But officials are concerned that the outbreak could spread beyond skid row if action isn’t taken.”
Genral Dogon, LA CAN wanted to know if a person could get TB by simply touching someone’s property. DPH, in no uncertain terms told him:
Brother Aazim Muhammad, LA CAN wanted to know how he heard about the TB situation from a relative in Philadelphia, PA and while officials in Los Angeles apparently were not going to inform him until:
Jeff Dietrich, Hippie Kitchen wanted to clarify how TB is actually spread and who’s at greatest risk:
This is just a sample of the dialogue, uncut. Check back because we will continue to add excerpts over the next couple of days.