No outbreak at all and it’s looking like shoddy journalism.
No outbreaks of leprosy or tuberculosis exist in Springdale or elsewhere in Northwest Arkansas, state health officials said Friday in an attempt to allay fear following a TV station’s report Thursday night.
While there are nine reported cases of leprosy and 21 cases of TB in Washington, Benton and Sebastian counties, none is a recent infection, and the two diseases are not believed to be highly contagious, officials with the Arkansas Department of Health said.
“There has never been an epidemic of leprosy,” said the Health Department’s branch chief of infectious diseases, Dr. James R. Phillips.
“Ninety-five percent of the population are genetically resistant to leprosy,” Phillips said. “And flu is magnitudes much-more contagious than leprosy.”
Sources? Who needs sources?
“Springdale is also reporting over 100 cases of TB,” the television station reported, without further elaboration or attribution. During its 5 p.m. newscast Friday, KFSM attributed Thursday’s report to bad information supplied by local doctors.