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Jim GallowayJim Galloway

Phil Gingrey: Border kids could spark epidemics in U.S.

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In this June 19 photo, Central American migrants emerge from side streets to crowd onto the tracks, as a northbound freight train arrives in the station in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been apprehended crossing the U.S. Mexico border since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and most say they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty. AP/Rebecca Blackwell

In this June 19 photo, Central American migrants emerge from side streets to crowd onto the tracks, as a northbound freight train arrives in the station in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been apprehended crossing the U.S. Mexico border since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and most say they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty. AP/Rebecca Blackwell

In a letter to Thomas Frieden, director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, expressed his fear this week that the undocumented children the U.S. is absorbing at its border could trigger an epidemic.

Now, he doesn’t actually use the word “epidemic.” He just speaks of diseases that “spread too rapidly to control.” Which we think meets the definition.

Read the letter in its entirety here. The gist:

As a physician for over 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose. In fact, infection diseases remain in the top 10 causes of death in the United States. However, the United States has been successful in mitigating or eradicating many diseases, and others are not indigenous to this country.

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, who lost a bid in May for the U.S. Senate. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, who lost a bid in May for the U.S. Senate. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

As such, reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning. Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles. This makes those Americans that are not vaccinated – and especially young children and the elderly – particularly susceptible.

Reports have indicated that several border agents have contracted diseases through contact with the unaccompanied minors. As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control. In fact, as you undoubtedly know, some of these diseases have no known cure….

I request that the CDC take immediate action to assess the public risk posed by the influx of unaccompanied children and their subsequent transfer to different parts of the country. I strongly fell that the public should be notified of this risk….

Looks like this could be a boon for the rubber glove industry. Buy your stock now.

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