Illegal Immigrants, Infectious Disease, Perpetuate Border Crisis

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Experts urge vaccination, better healthcare practices to curb infection-related deaths

October 24, 2019

MedPage Today – Seven migrant children have died in U.S. custody during the past year, and conditions in detention centers may be encouraging the unchecked spread of infectious diseases, a researcher argued.

Children have died from illnesses such as influenza with an associated bacterial infection, pneumonia, sepsis, and a misdiagnosed sinus infection, wrote Mark Travassos, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

In the last 2 months alone, outbreaks of other infectious disease outbreaks, including flu, the mumps, and chicken pox have led to quarantines of migrants, he noted.

Lack of adequate healthcare for migrant children at the border has been widely reported. Aliens Use Fake IDs To Access HHS Care Meant For Children

In a statement, heads of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the HIV Medicine Association, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) expressed concern about the practice of care for migrants, including withholding medical immunizations and other critical and routine health services.

Indeed, IDSA Past President Cynthia Sears, MD, recently penned an editorial for MedPage Today, where she characterized withholding flu shots and other routine healthcare from migrants at the border as a “stark violation of law, ethics, and public trust, and a frightening violation of public healthcare principles.”

An accompanying CID editorial by Betsy Herold, MD, and Kristina Bryant, MD, both of PIDS, provided a snapshot of the quarantines at detention centers: 5,200 adult immigrants quarantined due to vaccine-preventable diseases, nearly 900 confirmed and probable mumps cases reported by the CDC among adults and an additional 33 cases among facility staff from September 2018 to August 2019.

They also noted 423 confirmed cases of influenza and 461 confirmed cases of chicken pox.

“Children and others arriving from abroad may be incubating diseases to which they were exposed in their home countries. Immigrants may lack immunity to diseases considered vaccine-preventable, either from lack of access to vaccines or poor responses to receipt of improperly stored vaccines,” Herold and Bryant wrote … READ MORE. 

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