New Report: Mass immigration to U.S. presents spread of communicable diseases

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A new report outlines how mass immigration could lead to a spread of communicable diseases, with the potential to result in a deadly public health crisis in the United States.

“Communicable diseases do not stop at international borders,” say researchers from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). A new report by the group says the Trump Administration should protect the American public from diseases brought to the U.S.

“They could be one of the most dangerous – yet rarely considered – consequence of inadequate immigration controls,” the report says of mass migration. “Nevertheless, the mainstream media, and most policy makers, avoid any discussion of the public health challenges presented by illegal immigration.”

The report says that rapid global travel is feasible for a large number of travelers across the globe, and that leads to an increase in the “possibility of an epidemic traceable to migrants.” They say it’s a reality too important to ignore.

“Most illnesses are spread by contact with infected people, livestock or agricultural produce,” the FAIR report continues. “As a result, researchers have concluded that the international movement of people is a significant factor in disease outbreaks.” The FAIR report says mobile populations can connect diseases to low-risk areas through international movement.

According to the report, researchers said Germany recently accepted nearly two million refugees, who entered the country “with minimal security vetting and virtually no health screening.”

From the report:

The majority of people relocated to Germany in this wave of migrants come from countries in the developing world that are currently experiencing social and political conflicts that make the delivery of medical services and the maintenance of basic sanitation services difficult, if not impossible. Their arrival without proper medical screening has had a negative effect on Germany’s health and welfare.

The organization that monitors Germany’s disease outbreaks, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently reported significant increases in communicable diseases across Germany. It concluded that recent increases in dengue fever, Hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases are “directly attributable to the migrant stream currently pouring into Germany.”

Many of the communicable diseases listed in RKI’s report have not been prevalent in Europe in decades.

“Their re-emergence is a significant threat to the general health and welfare of native Germans and new arrivals alike,” the FAIR report states. They surmise that although Germany has a well developed healthcare system, the “sheer number of refugees” with a great diversity of malady’s has been a drain on the German public health infrastructure.

The researchers conclude that the Trump administration and State Department should take precautionary steps to further prevent an infectious disease outbreak in the U.S.

“The U.S. also needs to make public health screening a standard part of immigration processing, before it’s too late,” the reports states. They recommend the following actions:

  • Provide ports of entry with the latest technology for the rapid discovery of infectious disease. Researchers have recently developed a breath analyzer that can detect 17  different diseases using a single breath sample. 16 Other, similar technology is being rapidly developed and should be available for purchase soon.
  • Expand the use of “sniffer” dogs at ports of entry. For years, specially-trained
    canines have been used to sniff out bombs, illegal drugs and agricultural
    contraband at ports of entry. Medical researchers have recently trained diseasesniffing
    dogs.17 These working dogs could be used to rapidly and effectively screen
    for infected travelers.
  • The U.S. Department of State (DOS) could require proof of certain vaccinations
    prior to issuing a visa to international travelers.
  • DOS could also require travelers from regions with known public health issues to
    undergo preventative medical treatment (e.g. prophylactic treatment with antibiotics
    or anti-retroviral drugs) prior to traveling to the United States.
  • Many diseases of public health concern, like anthrax, are transmitted from animals
    to humans. Agriculture Specialists working for U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    (CBP) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service could be trained to administer
    brief infectious disease questionnaires to travelers arriving at U.S. ports of entry.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers could be authorized to order
    secondary health screening for visibly ill travelers.
  • The U.S. Public Health Service and Centers for Disease Control’s Division of Global
    Migration and Quarantine should have personnel trained in the detection and
    containment of infectious disease stationed at every official port of entry.

Already in the U.S., a recent measles outbreak in Minnesota has reached 79 cases, surpassing the 70 cases identified nationally in all of 2016. A lack of vaccinations has been cited as one of the reasons for the outbreak.  The outbreak has been linked back to members of the Somali-American communities in the state, which has become the resettlement preference for refugees.

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