HOUSTON, Texas–A source told Breitbart Texas that an illegal immigrant from Guatemala is currently being treated for active tuberculosis (TB) at the University Medical Center (UMC) of El Paso.
Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet–a preventive medicine physician and former Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)–has practices in Arizona and Texas. Vliet claimed that one of her patients, whose name can not be disclosed for confidentiality reasons, called her with fears that the TB-positive immigrant was putting other lives at risk.
Vliet said her patient informed her that ICE and DHS would not take the illegal immigrant–who was previously deported but is now back in the U.S.–into custody.
A representative at UMC El Paso told Breitbart Texas that information on the supposedly infected individual could not be released. “HIPAA prevents us from releasing any information about specific diagnoses,” the spokeswoman said.
She added, however, that “five El Paso hospitals are currently treating immigrants.”
Vliet claimed that another employee at UMC El Paso called the Center for Disease Control (CDC)–the CDC apparently said they would “look into” the situation, but was unclear about when action could be taken. Breitbart Texas’ calls to the CDC were not immediately returned.
Vliet expressed concern to Breitbart Texas that the allegedly infected illegal immigrant could be released into general population before the CDC gets to him.
TB is usually found in the lungs and can be fatal. The infectious disease is typically spread through the air and contracted via sneezes or coughs. Several cases of the disease have already been identified within the illegal immigrant population–but the fear of TB’s potential to spread is ultimately
Vliet told Breitbart Texas, “The form of TB prevalent in the countries from which the majority of these illegals are coming is the most severe of all: multi-drug resistant TB, which has a low cure rate and requires the use of expensive medications with serious side effects.”
The tidal wave of illegal immigrants have brought numerous diseases into the U.S. since the new year. 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 chickenpox, MRSA staph infections, we are starting to see different viruses,” Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera told ABC 15.
Vliet told Breitbart Texas that the risk of diseases brought into the U.S. by the migrants is being dramatically downplayed by the Obama Administration and mainstream media.
She 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. … It’s a very real risk. 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.”
On July 7, the AAPS penned an open letter, addressed to all Members of Congress, asking that health issues within the illegal immigrant population be fully investigated. The group additionally asked that answers be provided to U.S. citizens about any public health risks. AAPS is particularly concerned about risks to students, since plans are already underway in several cities for the illegal immigrants to attend public schools.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.