Doctor: Risk of Diseases Brought by Migrants Not Being Taken Seriously
HOUSTON, Texas--Earlier this week Breitbart Texas reported on a confirmed case of the Swine Flu, or H1N1, at a facility for young migrants in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet--an experienced physician and nationally recognized speaker--told Breitbart Texas that the risks from such diseases being brought over the border are being dramatically downplayed.
Vliet said, "Many people are trying to diminish the seriousness of this. They say, 'We have these diseases in the U.S.' Well yes, we do, but they've been well controlled, we have good hygiene, and most of our parents keep children home when they're sick."
Most of the border minors are being kept in overcrowded facilities ridden with poor hygiene; this is the ideal condition for a viral outbreak, according to Vliet.
So far a slew of sicknesses have been brought into the U.S. by the recent tidal wave of illegal immigrants. Breitbart Texas recently reported on an outbreak of scabies in one housing facility for unaccompanied border minors--the infestation was contracted by numerous Border Patrol agents. Other additional illnesses have also been noted. "We are starting to see chicken pox, MRSA staph infections, we are starting to see different viruses," Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera told ABC 15.
Such illnesses "keep increasing logarithmically as long as you have people to infect," Vliet said. "So once the flu bug, TB, or any infectious disease is released--once they are brought across the border--they're just going to keep infecting more people. One person can infect a thousand people, and then that thousand can infect thousands more. There is an exponential increase."
"It's a very real risk," Vliet warned. "It could get out of hand very quickly; but since these are common disease that people have heard of, the risk isn't necessarily taken seriously."
If certain illnesses spread at a rapid rate, public health facilities could become overwhelmed and U.S. citizens may experience medical delays.
The prevalence of illness could additionally pose a serious threat to Border Patrol agents, Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas. "Apparently a significant amount of communicable disease is suspected by custodial and agent personnel," Taylor said. "What level of medical screening, if any, is being done is unknown. What the medical testing shows is likely not being shared with the agents. And, there are potential communicable diseases that the detainees will not be tested for unless individually requested by a medical officer which is unlikely without acute symptoms."
Others worry that the threat stretches far beyond Border Patrol agents, and that the general public is also at-risk of contracting various diseases. The potential for diseases to spread is especially troubling as federal agents are loading waves of illegal immigrants onto planes and busses, and then dropping them off at housing facilities around the U.S.
Unloading large numbers of illegal immigrants--particularly those who have not yet been screen for diseases--at cities around the country "increases the risk to the general U.S. population," Vliet said. "They're taking them from the border to the heartland and increasing the spread."
The doctor concluded, "First and foremost we need to enforce immigration laws. The migrants should be quarantined until we can determine what they have. This is a national security risk, it is a public health risk, and it is going to overwhelm the healthcare system for U.S. citizens."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.