Border Patrol agents are accustomed to dealing with illegal aliens trying to enter the U.S. And to handling drug dealers, or at least those who haul contraband into the U.S. There even are occasional shootings at the agency's facilities.
But there's probably nothing to trigger a surge in adrenaline for one of those federal workers as realizing that the person you just encountered may be infected with tuberculosis, or measles, or chicken pox.
It's an issue that needs a lot more attention than it is getting, according to an expert, the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Jane Orient.
She told WND Monday that things that immigration officers need to know about those coming into the country are whether they have communicable diseases, where they've been and who they've encountered, where they're going and who will they encounter, and if they are getting – or should be getting – had medical treatment for various exposures.
"All of these things we really don't know," she said. "Deliberately."
The fact that newcomers are bringing communicable diseases into the U.S. isn't new. But there have been some recent reports that are cause for alarm.
Kalen McBreen reported at Infowars that "hundreds" of newcomers today have come from an area in the Congo in Africa to San Antonio, and hundreds more are en route.
That area of the Conge is currently experiencing a massive Ebola virus outbreak, and, the report said, the World Health Organization confirmed one in four Ebola infections in Congo are going undetected.
Then there was the MS-13 gang member who was presenting himself at the border as part of a "family."
With him was a child about 18 months old.
With chicken pox.
Orient was concerned.
"The problem is bringing in people who may have a disease you don't know about. You don't know where they've been, or where they're going, who they've been in contact with," she said.
Sometimes people are contagious with a communicable disease without showing symptoms, and can transmit a virus.
That, she warned, "can be fatal."
She cited the Ebola cases found in the United States only a few years ago. Then, one patient just showed up at a Dallas hospital.
Regarding that threat, she said, there likely are only a handful of hospital beds equipped to handle Ebola.
Then there is latent TB, she noted, that many immigrants may have.
"A cough on the bus, and you've infected a busload," she warned.
#BorderPatrol Agent caring for 1.5 yr old child with chickenpox who was part of a fraudulent family unit. The male who the child was with is not related to the child and has ties to MS-13 gang. Our Agents continue to do their best during this crisis. pic.twitter.com/vvCMQVuvA1
— CBP El Centro (@CBPElCentro) June 7, 2019
At the time, Reuters reported thousands of such patients were are on lock-down because of their illnesses, or exposure to illnesses.
At that time, mumps also was confirmed, 186 cases in Texas facilities alone at the time.
In a Colorado facility it was worse, 357 cases in just weeks.
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., also of the AAPS, warned several years ago that viruses and infections already had been making their presence known in other countries where there had been huge numbers migrants.
"U.S. and German citizens are put at significant risk by the politically correct acceptance of unscreened immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of infectious diseases, many difficult or impossible to treat. Yet authorities in both countries have failed to fully inform the public of the dangers," she wrote at the time.
She added, "TB is one of the most serious threats. Latent TB can remain dormant for years, even decades. It is alarming that 18 percent of refugees in Arizona arrive with latent TB, while in the general Arizona population the incidence was only 4 percent. Multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), common in migrants, may cost more than $400,000 per patient, compared with $20,000 for the drug-responsive TB that has been predominant in U.S.-born patients. Treatment of MDR-TB has serious side effects, with no guarantee of success," she said.