Many of the thousands of illegal immigrant children and teens crossing the United States border are carrying deadly contagious diseases that could easily create a major health crisis in this country, doctors say.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Dr. Jane Orient, an internal medicine specialist and the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), said that by admitting these huge groups of children who come from countries where medical screenings are minimal and hygiene is poor, the United States is at risk for epidemics of serious diseases and viruses that the nation has not seen in years.
“Tuberculosis (TB) is the single most dangerous disease because it is highly contagious and can be easily picked up at the mall, at a school, or on the bus,” Orient told Breitbart News. “Cases coming from south of the U.S. border can be very resistant to medications. They don’t respond to traditional antibiotics, and the few drugs they may respond to are often toxic, with lots of side effects.”
“Legal immigrants have always been required to undergo health screenings,” Orient continued, “but these kids coming have no medical screenings and no vaccine records. They’re likely coming here with a number of infectious diseases that will spread like wildfire.”
“Norovirus is also an extremely contagious virus with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea,” she explained. “All we need is one outbreak of that virus and we would have an overwhelming public health crisis.”
“We use a lot of intravenous fluids to rehydrate people who have these types of illnesses. What if we have a shortage of IV fluids? Our emergency rooms would be overloaded.”
“We no longer have natural immunity against diseases such as measles and chicken pox because we haven’t had them in this country for years,” Orient said. “Many doctors have never even seen these diseases so may not recognize them.”
Orient said that while the public health risks are enough of a serious concern, she also is worried about the psychological trauma of these young children sent away from their families at such an early age.
“Despite the reasons we hear about why families are sending babies and toddlers across the U.S. border, there’s no substitute for a mother’s love and closeness, even if you live in a dangerous area, with gangs and drug cartels,” Orient said. “Why not build secure facilities in Guatemala, for example, instead of sending toddlers and children on a dangerous trip where they’ll encounter even more criminals?”
Writing at The Monitor on Friday, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a physician with practices in both Tucson and Dallas, agreed with Orient. She noted that the “invisible travelers” coming across the U.S. border, in addition to TB and measles, include hepatitis, malaria, Chagas disease – a parasitic infection – and dengue fever.
“A public health crisis, the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime, is looming,” Vliet stated.
Hardest hit by exposures to these difficult-to-treat diseases will be elderly, children, immunosuppressed cancer patients, and patients with chronic lung disease or congestive heart failure. Drug-resistant tuberculosis is the most serious risk, but even diseases like measles can cause severe complications and death.
“Other illnesses, along with scabies and head lice, also thrive as children are transported by bus and herded into crowded shelters – courtesy of the federal government,” wrote Vliet. “And treatment costs are borne by taxpayers.”
Orient affirmed that, in Tucson, school buildings that have not been in use in years are being considered as shelters for the young illegal immigrants.
“Some of these buildings are in total disrepair, having been vandalized for years, and, of course, there is no security,” she explained.
“Our public health departments complain of being overtaxed by a dozen cases of measles or whooping cough,” Vliet wrote. “How will they cope with thousands of patients with many different, and uncommon, diseases? Americans, especially Medicaid patients, will see major delays for treatment.”