Leprosy: Whites To Blame—Or Immigration?

Among many interesting stories on the astonishingly industrious Modern Tribalist recently was one on leprosy. A new study of the leprosy genome suggests the disease originated in East Africa. India had previously been thought most likely source, partly because of the volume of cases still occurring there, partly because of the antiquity of the Indian written record of leprosy.

This is yet another example of the revolutionary impact of modern genetic science. But of more immediate significance to VDARE.COM readers is who was blamed for the spread of leprosy in the news reports.

National Geographic News: Leprosy Was Spread by Colonialism, Slave Trade [May 12 2005]

BBC News: Slave trade key to leprosy spread [May 13 2005]

("European colonialism and the slave trade probably played a key role in the spread of leprosy, research suggests.")

China View [May 13 2005]:

"…the disease may have begun in East Africa…then spread to the other continents in part through European colonialism and later the slave trade."

In other words, although this ancient disease was rampant throughout Europe and Asia by early medieval times, the study is being used as another occasion to denigrate the whites of Western Europe, solidly fixed in the media mind as the only practitioners of colonialism and slave trading

In fact, of course, slavery in East Africa was basically an Arab affair. And European colonial rule in Africa only happened in the late 1800s, long after leprosy had crossed the Atlantic. Leprosy managed to establish itself all over other parts of the world—it was a big problem in 19th century Norway, for example—without any help from the slave trade. And in any case, the study indicates the disease spread into West Africa, source of most slaves, from the Mediterranean basin.

In reality, the transmission mechanism was probably always travelers trading in any merchandise, rather than masses of slaves, as has also been the case with many other infectious diseases.

If anything, the spread of leprosy should be blamed on an early version of globalism.

The source of this ahistorical slander, sadly, is the press release put out by head of the Pasteur Institute unit responsible for the study, Dr Stewart Cole:

"Europeans and North Africans then spread leprosy to West Africa… Europeans also introduced leprosy to North America.

"'Colonialism was extremely bad for parts of the world in terms of human health,' said Cole."

In other words, the brief period of European rule in the Third World, which triggered a population explosion there because of the introduction of public health disciplines, law, order, technology and capital, creating an improving living standard the post- colonial regimes have been pitifully unable to maintain, was "extremely bad."

Dr Cole is doubtless a competent scientist. He is clearly a rotten historian and, probably, another tediously self-hating Brit. [Complain to Dr. Cole]

However leprosy spread in the past, the answer to stopping extension in the future is obvious: curtail 3rd World immigration.

This Canadian study from last year showed 70% of the leprosy cases evaluated were amongst immigrants from India, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.

And this very frank story from the Columbia Journalism School website ("Leprosy in America: New Cause for concern," by Ben Whitford, March 15 2005, in case they take it down) makes it searingly clear that leprosy is being imported to the U.S. by immigrants, some of who deliberately come here for free treatment, and that experts fear it will spread into the native-born population. ("It's a public health threat. New York is endemic now, and nobody's noticed"—Dr. William Levis, New York Hansen's Disease Clinic)

The brutal truth is that immigrants bring disease. That's why they were screened at Ellis Island and why the post-1965 collapse of America's borders is such a cause for concern. Leprosy is only one example.

Peter Brimelow is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster (Random House - 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins - 2003)