HOUSTON, Texas–Reporting by Breitbart Texas has led to the apprehension of a previously-deported illegal alien with active tuberculosis (TB), according to a highly placed source.
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. Earlier this month, Vliet told Breitbart Texas that a patient informed her of a supposedly TB-positive illegal immigrant who was being treated at the University Medical Center (UMC) of El Paso.
According to Vliet’s patient, ICE and DHS would not take the illegal immigrant–who was previously deported but is now back in the U.S.–into custody.
Due to Breitbart Texas’ coverage of the situation, Vliet said that federal agents apprehended the migrant.
“My source said that after the story broke and a Congressional Office made an inquiry, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO) reversed their earlier decision and took custody of his case,” Vliet claimed. “He is now being monitored under the watchful eye of CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services. He has been transferred by ICE/ERO to the Otero Detention Facility, which has a TB facility where he is receiving treatment.”
Vliet said that most cases of TB in Central America–where the majority of new immigrants are coming from–are multi-drug resistant. This makes the strain of disease more worrisome and harder to treat.
The Texas Public Health Department did not immediately return calls from Breitbart Texas to comment on the situation. UMC El Paso refused to give details about the supposedly-infected illegal immigrant, citing HIPAA. A spokeswoman from the hospital did say, however, that there are currently five hospitals in the El Paso area that treat illegal immigrants on a regular basis.
TB, which is commonly found in the lungs and spread through the air, can be fatal. The illness is contracted via fluid traveling through the air, usually via coughs and sneezes.
Several cases of TB have been identified in the illegal immigrant population, but the threat of the disease is arguably more serious when infected individuals are released into the general population. Other illnesses such as scabies, chicken pox, and the Swine flu have also been noted.
Vliet warned that because such diseases are already present in the U.S., their threat is not being taken seriously. She told Breitbart Texas, “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.”
The name of an agency has been changed in this article. We originally misquoted the source as saying Texas Public Health Department when she actually meant Texas Department of State Health Services.
Follow Kristin Tate @KristinBTate.