Biden’s border is leaving America open to drug-resistant outbreaks, experts warn – as second measles case is confirmed in Chicago migrant shelter

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Experts say lax immigration policies are fueling viral outbreaks among migrants
  • Migrants blame overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in 
  • READ MORE: Trump gives Daily Mail his view of America’s No1 election issue

A second measles case has been confirmed in a migrant shelter in Chicago, marking the first cases in the state in the last five years and highlighting the public health risk overcrowded migrant housing poses. 

The Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed the second case on Sunday and said the patient is hospitalized but stable.

As millions of migrants have come to America under President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, experts have warned that over crowded shelters and low vaccination rates in other countries could leave the US vulnerable to outbreaks of disease. 

They’ve said asylum seekers could be bringing infectious illnesses across the southern border and ‘open border’ policies are leading to drug-resistant diseases. 

And city leaders have said migrants are arriving to their areas in ‘disturbing’ and ‘very very unhealthy’ conditions.

Migrants themselves have said illnesses are rampart in shelters because of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. 

Chicago’s newest outbreak adds to the growing list across the country, which has seen clusters of tuberculosis, chicken pox and an unidentified illness that killed a five-year-old boy in December.  

Dozens of migrant families are seen arriving from Texas at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York in September 2023

A bus, carrying migrants from Texas, arrives at Port Authority bus station in New York, United States on May 03, 2023

A bus, carrying migrants from Texas, arrives at Port Authority bus station in New York, United States on May 03, 2023

Texas has bused more than 105,000 migrants to sanctuary cities since 2022, according to the governor's office

Texas has bused more than 105,000 migrants to sanctuary cities since 2022, according to the governor’s office

In April 2023, New York City’s Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan urged officials and doctors to take extra care when treating or screening migrants in order to prevent a public health crisis – noting that many do not have routine vaccinations. 

In fact, he said 50 percent of migrants going to New York City did not have their polio vaccine. 

Dr Marc Siegel, medical director at New York University, wrote for USA Today: ‘Migrants could be bringing infectious disease across our southern border. When they are bused to New York and elsewhere, these diseases go with them.’

And Dr James Hodges, an internist practicing at the Texas border, told the publication, the ‘open border’ is leading to more drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. 

The CDC requires all immigrants and refugees to undergo a medical screening before entering the US that includes a brief physical exam, a mental health evaluation, review of vaccination records, testing to STIs and a tuberculosis screening. 

Immigration applicants with communicable diseases are not permitted into the US, but not all go through the proper channels, meaning migrants who are sick may slip through the cracks and bring illness in with them. 

Over the last 18 months, Chicago has taken in more than 36,600 migrants – with a majority coming from Venezuela, which has recently battled measles outbreaks and has a low vaccination rate. 

And Chicago’s migrant housing center has been involved in several previous outbreaks, including one that left a five-year-old dead. 

In December 2023, the boy was a resident at a shelter meant to house 1,000 people but was holding about 2,400 at the time.  

Witnesses at the shelter said the boy had a temperature greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and was convulsing and bleeding from the mouth and nose. Officials said he died later at the hospital, but witnesses report he passed away at the shelter. 

In the same week, six other residents were hospitalized with unspecified illnesses. 

Residents of the shelter told the Chicago Sun Times that illnesses spread in the housing because of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.  

The Associated Press reported, citing people living at the overcrowded facility, that there was faulty heat, water leaks, expired food and over crowded conditions. 

At the time, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson blamed border cities for outbreaks and said migrants were arriving to Chicago in conditions that ‘are quite disturbing.’ 

He told reporters: ‘People are showing up in very extreme circumstances. Very very unhealthy.

‘They’re just dropping off people anywhere. Do you understand how raggedy and how evil that is?’ 

New York City, which has seen more than 157,600 migrants arrive since Spring 2022, battled a tuberculosis outbreak that some healthcare experts partly attributed to the influx. 

In Dr Vasan’s 2023 letter,  he specifically called out tuberculosis as a disease of concern.  

Last fall, the five boroughs recorded a ‘dramatic’ rise in cases of TB, once one of the deadliest infections in the world – and a death sentence for half of those infected.

However, with the arrival of vaccines, which are up to 80 percent effective at prevention against severe disease, the fatality rate has dropped below four percent in developed countries. 

In 2023, the city saw more than 500 cases of TB – an increase of 20 percent from 2022.

While some health officials said the surge was because the Covid pandemic hindered diagnosis and treatment of the TB, others speculated the rise could have been from the surge of migrants, who are at a heightened risk of infection because the disease can spread easily in the types of overcrowded, congregant settings they are housed in. 

Dr Vasan wrote: ‘Many people who recently arrived in NYC have lived in or traveled through countries with high rates of TB.’ 

In Denver, several cases of the chickenpox were reported among children in the city’s migrants shelters in November. City health officials said they were treating the children and beginning to vaccinate people in the migrant population. 

In his letter, Dr Vasan added that vaccinating migrants, as well as screening them for disease, should be a top priority. 


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