Leprosy outbreak causes concerns in Northwest Arkansas
Posted: Feb 7, 2008 10:21 PM

SPRINGDALE – The medical community is warning the public: a leprosy outbreak in Springdale could blossom into an epidemic, if something isn’t done soon.

Doctors say at least nine cases of leprosy have been confirmed in Springdale. Local doctors say they would be shocked by even one case of leprosy in their entire career, so they say something must be done soon, in order to stop leprosy’s spread.

Springdale MD Jennifer Bingham says, “my initial response was: I am shocked. I am shocked we are seeing this. It’s a true reason to be very worried.”

Luke 17:12 – 19

And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God

And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Medical specialists say the Marshall Islands have the most cases of leprosy, in the world. And the city with the largest number of Marshallese people, outside the Marshall islands, is Springdale. And Bingham says, it makes sense, then, that leprosy is spreading to the city. “It’s from the Marshall islands; that’s why we’re seeing it.”

Bingham says she is all for Marshallese people entering the United States, after proper medical tests. But whether they’re immigrants or not, she says people must stick to treatment, when infected. And she says, when she treats those from the Marshall Islands, this doesn’t happen. “We’re not getting the compliance that is absolutely essential to take care of this process.”

Bingham says without cooperation, leprosy, which has no vaccine, and is transmitted through the air, will spread, and could easily become an epidemic. “People absolutely should be concerned. What I’m afraid of, is when people start thinking about it enough, it will already be out of control.”

So now, Bingham, and others like Mayoral candidate Nancy Jenkins, say government help is the next step. Jenkins says she’s angered the federal government has been so lax with border patrol. She says, “We’ve just opened the borders and said, ‘Come on in! Bring your diseases! Bring ’em!’ Why are we doing that? Those who have it need to be quarantined and treated, or sent back to their country.”

Mark 1:40 – 42

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

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