TV station reports (The TV station has taken the report down under pressure from Springdale; but the clip lives on YouTube) nine cases of leprosy have been diagnosed in Springdale. The disease is linked to the large population of Marshall Islanders, who also suffer a high rate of tuberculosis. The poor health and inadequate care for the Marshall Islands community was the subject of a legislative hearing in December.
UPDATE: The reporting on this has apparently prompted some public alarm and the Health Department has issued a news release noting that the nine leprosy cases are not new ones and that, besides, the disease is not easily transmitted. The Health Department also said the TV station’s report on the number of TB cases in NW Ark. was overstated. It says there has been no “outbreak” of either disease.