Jersey City and TB — Perfect together?

All the Ebola hoopla reminds me of back when communicable diseases were handled with like a no margin for error policy. That was long ago. For well over ten years now, Jersey City has had one of the highest rates of Tuberculosis — if not the highest — in the State. Does any paper or politician discuss this grave threat to public health? Nope. Nobody gives it a thought.

Things were way different in the late-’70s. If you got TB, you went to Pollack Hospital and you stayed there until they decided to let you go.

One of the regulars at the Tunnel Bar — let’s call ‘im Johnny Noir — got hauled off for Tuberculosis. Once his condition improved, Noir was let out one weekend, but was told to report back bright and early Monday AM. After two days and three nights of drinking, the impatient patient decided that he wasn’t going to return to the hospital.

Noir’d given the bar’s pay phone number as contact information. After Monday morning started to get some tread wear, the telephone began ringing with calls inquiring about the health-compromised individual. Each time Jimmy Taraski the then tavern owner answered the phone, Johnny Noir just waved a hand and shook his head, indicating a no-go for conversation.

Maybe, an hour later, a police car pulls up and an uniformed officer walks in the door of the Tunnel Bar. Proceeding no further, he says, “Is there a John Noir here?”

“That’s me?”

“How we gonna do this?”

“Whad’ya mean?”

“You’re goin’ back t’ Pollack. Is it gonna be with cuffs or without?”

Not even finishing his drink, Noir jumped up and hurried to the door. “I’m going! I’m going!”

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established PETCRAFT.com in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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One Response to Jersey City and TB — Perfect together?

  1. Jersey City has been number one in the state for tuberculosis for nearly a decade. It also appears that the other municipalities in the top 5 have managed to contain the disease and cut the rate — most dramatically Newark — but not Jersey City
    I tend to doubt that the towers or brownstones on the waterfront are much affected. That would mean that certain communities are even harder hit than one might at first surmise from the raw numbers.
    And I’m old enough that the first time I heard of tuberculosis was in a 10th grade Literature class when we read Crime and Punishment. As far as public health goes, is progress a thing of the past?

    # # #

    From: Anthony Olszewski
    Date: Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 6:20 AM
    Subject: Jersey City TB case rate
    To: Frank.Romano@doh.state.nj.us
    Cc: Jersey Journal
    Here
    http://www.state.nj.us/health/tb/documents/tbstats/city.pdf
    The most recent figures for the Jersey City TB incidence and case rate / 100k are given as
    34/5.2
    Since the Jersey City population by the 2010 census is given as
    240,055
    Dividing 34 by 2.4 gives 14.17.
    How was the 5.2 case rate/100k calculated?
    BTW, as the TB cases probably are not spread evenly through Jersey City, is there any way to get some idea of the streets / neighborhoods / wards where TB actually was found? Are there places in Jersey City where the prevalence of TB essentially is the same as in the Third World?
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6510a3.htm?s_cid=mm6510a3_e

    Thank you.

    Anthony Olszewski

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