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CDC Director: Africa's 'Porous Land Borders' Made Ebola Outbreak Worse

CDC Director: Africa's 'Porous Land Borders' Made Ebola Outbreak Worse

On Thursday, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, admitted that Africa’s porous land borders made the Ebola crisis worse. 

In a statement to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Frieden said the “current epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone” is the “biggest and most complex Ebola challenge the world has ever faced.” He said he feared the disease could spread even more in Africa. 

“The porous land borders among countries and remoteness of many villages have greatly complicated control efforts,” Frieden conceded in his prepared statement, noting that there have been Ebola cases “imported into Nigeria and Senegal from the initially-affected” West African nations. 

Frieden only had five minutes to deliver his opening remarks and skipped over much of his prepared statement, including the remarks about Africa’s porous borders. Later in the hearing, Frieden spoke about how Africa’s “porous borders” made it difficult to contain Ebola.

Last week, Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, the “top U.S. military commander in South America,” said there could be a stampede of migrants coming to the United States if Ebola reaches Central and South American nations or the Caribbean during the winter vacation season. This week, Kelly informed the Associated Press that “leaders from the Caribbean and Central American countries are voicing concerns because many vacationers will be traveling to and from the islands, often without going through airport screenings the U.S. is putting in place.”

Since October of last year, there have been at least 66,500 illegal immigrant unaccompanied juveniles who have been detained at the border. That number does not include adults, those who were accompanied, and illegal immigrants who entered the country. Illegal immigrant juveniles have been released across the country. As journalist Sharyl Attkisson has noted, the Obama administration’s lack of transparency regarding the Enterovirus outbreak that coincided with the arrival of illegal immigrants from Central America and has killed at least five children has left Americans wondering if the summer’s flood of illegal immigrants was responsible for spreading that virus.

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