Homeland Security not checking incomers for Zika

By Cheryl Chumley

Border officials aren't testing for Zika.
Border officials aren’t testing for Zika.

Homeland Security Department officials say they’re not directing border security to check those coming into the United States for the Zika virus because it wouldn’t be an “effective” process.

“Based on our current understanding of the virus,” the department said in a statement reported by Breitbart, “enhanced public health entry screening for Zika would not be effective because most people who are infected with Zika are asymptomatic and therefore could not be identified during the screening process. Accordingly, [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is not conducting, or recommending that [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] conduct enhanced entry screening for Zika, such as active symptom monitoring and temperature checks at ports of entry for arriving travelers.”

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The department said “CDC and CBP will continue to coordinate on appropriate measures,” Breitbart reported.

Homeland Security did say officials would stay alert for incomers with active and obvious signs of the illness, and refer those individuals for “a secondary CBP inspection” and possibly to the CDC “for additional medical evaluation.”

The agency also said those referrals could apply to illegals attempting undocumented border crossings.

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“Migrants who exhibit signs of illness when apprehended by CBP attempting to cross the border illegally are separated from healthy people to limit the potential spread of infection,” Homeland Security said in its statement, Breitbart reported. “Sick migrants are referred, transported and escorted for appropriate medical attention as needed.”

Pregnant women in custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who came from countries with high numbers of Zika cases would be screened as well, Homeland Security said.

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