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Migrants Bringing Measles and TB Across the Border

Diseases that had been eradicated in the US are going through shelters and into neighborhoods once again.

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Articles, Healthcare, Opinion

The swarms of migrants flooding into the US are bringing much more than just financial problems and a rise in crime. They’re also causing a resurgence in diseases that America has mostly eradicated. Sanctuary cities are reporting outbreaks of measles and tuberculosis among the undocumented in shelter facilities and schools, where illegal immigrant children are not required to be vaccinated. Some officials are concerned that this is only the beginning.

Migrants, Measles, and Tuberculous

Chicago has been hit pretty hard with infectious diseases, most likely spreading from shelter facilities for migrants. As of April 5, there have been 57 confirmed cases of measles since March, Newsweek reported. “The majority of cases have been linked to the city’s largest migrant shelter in the Pilsen neighborhood.” The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) said there are plans to give second doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine to affected shelters and that of the 57 cases, 33 are children under five years old.

On top of that, now there are cases of tuberculous (TB) in a few different shelters in the Windy City, although the Chicago Department of Public Health did note that the city does see between 100-150 cases of TB in an average year, but that they will be monitoring this situation.

Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez (D) has voiced disapproval for the city’s sanctuary policy and claimed Mayor Brandon Johnson, also a Democrat, and his administration for ignoring public health concerns when it comes to immigration. He posted on X:

“Performative politics and hurt feelings kept City Hall from avoiding the obvious looming disaster. Anyone who demanded action to protect our residents was called racist, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant by fringe politicians.

“And now here we are: measles, now tuberculosis both ‘confirmed’ in Chicago. Shame on every mouthpiece that worked so hard to keep this secret.”

In New York, TB and measles aren’t the only diseases to worry about. Polio is popping up, as well. The last confirmed case, prior to last summer, was in 1990. Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said only about 50% of migrants arriving in the Big Apple are vaccinated, but when it comes to polio, the vaccination isn’t the only concern, it’s how they received it. In the US, polio vaccines are injections, but a lot of other countries use an oral vaccine that has the live virus and can be spread through feces into the sewer system. Former Health Commissioner Mary Basset cautioned that “the danger of polio is present in New York Today,” referring to the presence of polio in wastewater in most parts of NYC, the New York Post reported.

New Banner Illegal ImmigrationDr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County health commissioner, warned: “When we see one case of paralytic polio, that means there are probably hundreds and hundreds of cases that are out there in the community but not diagnosed, because 75% of the cases are asymptomatic,” The Post stated.

Most of the countries migrants are coming from and sometimes traveling through do not have the same vaccinations as Americans. “Many people who recently arrived in NYC have lived in or traveled through countries with high rates of disease,” Commissioner Vasan explained. In the Big Apple, the TB rate is 6.1 cases per 100,000 and is more than double the national rate, detailed The Post. “Close to nine out of 10 (88%) of these TB cases are people born outside the United States.”

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a New York City-based double board-certified doctor told Fox News the outbreaks in Chicago was predictable: “To be honest, I’m not surprised. We have open borders with all sorts of people coming in from countries from all over the world bringing in various illnesses, viruses, disease and bacterial infections.”

As of March, illegal immigrant children did not have to be vaccinated to attend school, unlike US-born students who have strict vaccination policies to follow. In NYC, migrants were given waivers for the 2023-2024 school year. Since August 2020, nearly 40,000 migrants arrived in Chicago. “Migrants who are stopped at the border and then released into the general population are rarely medically screened or given vaccines,” Fox News explained. “Legal migrants, like Green Card holders, are required to be vaccinated for a range of inoculations as part of their approval process.”

Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins health policy expert and surgeon told Fox News that the shelters are a concern. “The reports of the crowding are that it is the worst it’s ever been in recent history.” He added, “However, the amount of time spent in the shelter has decreased, suggesting that people may manifest the infection after their time in the shelter.”

Critics of the way the Biden administration is dealing with the border crisis are blaming the president and his administration and warn that the issue will only get worse. TB, for example, can take a while to show symptoms. Meanwhile, the infected person can be spreading it to others. While there is a treatment, it can take six months to a year of taking antibiotics. But now health officials warn there is a new strain resistant to medication.

Since October, there have been 1,151,488 illegal immigrant encounters by Customs and Border Protection officers, and that doesn’t count the “gotaway” migrants. It is terrifying to realize that the border crossers are usually not medically screened and half of them are likely not vaccinated and could be carrying diseases Americans thought were gone for good, at least in our nation.

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