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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why Did The Arkansas Leprosy Story Simply Disappear?

Something here stinks to high heaven. I am not huge on conspiracy theories and coverups and such but the story I wrote about yesterday regarding an "outbreak" of Leprosy in Arkansas, simply disappeared.

They didn't issue a correction, didn't add an update that the Arkansas Department of Health denies such an outbreak and claims the doctors were wrong, I had to actively hunt the site to find that story, they simply removed the whole original story...why?

Because that link now says:

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The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your browser cache.

Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page.

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I searched for the google cache page and found the original story...gotta love those caches huh?

The original story:

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."

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."

Dr. Bingham is requesting the public take action, and write everyone from legislators, and presidential candidates, to Congress, and the Health Department. Shey says, "the only way to truly protect our community and our economic growth, is to think of this as a very important, panic-mode attempt to treat leprosy: before it gets out of hand."

Doctors say leprosy will appear as a discoloration, or nodules, on the skin, especially the fingers, toes, arms, and face. With treatment, it is curable, but it can take from six months, to two years, to completely disappear.

Springdale is also reporting over 100 cases of tuberculosis.

I am saving the original story before it disappears like a bad dream.

Now when you do the google search for it, all you find are the the denials and disclaimers, Story is False, Health Experts Dispel Leprosy, Tuberculosis Rumors, but no explanation about how the original story was simply removed.

Dr. Jim Phillips, branch chief of infectious disease with the state health department states
"There has been no outbreak. I don't know who put that information out there, but there is absolutely no evidence of an outbreak or an epidemic."

I can answer that for him, the tv station that originally reported it and the online version which has since been removed but which I just showed above from KFSM 5 News, and a Doctor Bingham, which I haven't been able to reach as well as Mayoral candidate Nancy Jenkins, both of whom the original KFSM story quoted at length.

I guess he wouldn't know where the story came from because he, or his agency, or someone at KFSM completely removed or had removed, any evidence of the original story!!

Via the KFSM contact page, I have sent them an email asking why the story has been removed instead of issuing and update or correction:

I would like to know why, instead of issuing a correction or updating the original story, which I have found on google cache and have saved, about the Arkansas Leprosy outbreak, has been REMOVED completely from your site?

Isn't it standard in journalism to issue corrections or updates but to not completely remove a story once it has been printed?

Susan Duclos

I will update IF they answer.

I have also tried to call but their recording tells me they are closed at this time.

The Numbers to reach KFSM:

Main Number - Fort Smith: 479-783-3131
Main Number - Fayetteville: 479-521-1330
News and Weather Information: 479-783-1191
Fax - Fort Smith: 479-783-3295
Fax - Fayetteville: 479-521-6579

As I said, something stinks here. If KFSM would have just issued an update saying that the Arkansas Department of Health denies the story, or made a correction saying the Doctor, politicians and medical specialists were wrong, or simply added the new information to the old for the public to read, or any combination of the above options, it would have been one thing, but to completely remove the story, issuing another story which had to be searched for, STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN.



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