Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) containing unsubstantiated claims that the recent surge in immigrants from Central America has brought with it the Ebola virus, Mother Jones reported.
“Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey’s letter stated. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”
Gingrey, a physician by trade, also claimed that “reports have indicated that several border agents have contracted diseases through contact with the unaccompanied minors.” But at no point did he identify the source of these “reports.”
As Mother Jones reported, not only has Gingrey pushed for legislation opposing mandatory vaccinations, but the majority of Ebola cases have been reported in Africa, while the thousands of new immigrants, primarily children and women, come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Furthermore, not only are Guatemalan children more likely to be vaccinated than their counterparts in Texas, but NBC News reported that many of the immigrants are bringing their medical records with them to the U.S.
“They are up to date in their countries,” pediatrician Martin Garza, who has treated many of the immigrants coming to McAllen, Texas, told NBC. “This is not the poorest of the poor kids that we are seeing. In fact, they are what might be described as middle class. They have had medical care. They have been vaccinated.”