Almost 900 Migrants Exposed To Mumps While In Custody Yet Trump Refuses To Provide Vaccines
Recently it was reported that despite an upcoming flu season, the Trump administration was refusing to administer the flu vaccine to migrants in US detention centers. And that news came despite three children having died in US custody with complications related to the flu.
So when the CDC released a report that confirmed migrants are falling victim to communicable diseases while in US custody, many were hoping the administration would move to put an end to the outbreak. But it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. The administration is doubling down on its inhumane treatment of migrants. And even though the CDC has explicitly stated that the migrants are contracting the diseases while in custody, many government officials are trying to spin the story by saying that the migrants are bringing diseases and infections with them.
The CDC has confirmed that nearly 900 migrants were confirmed to have mumps.
Almost 900 migrants were exposed to mumps while in immigration custody in the first such reported outbreak of the contagious viral disease in U.S.-run detention centers, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.
Almost half of all the mumps cases, almost 400, were reported in facilities in Texas. According to the CDC, the outbreak began in October and it involved five cases in which migrants had been transferred between two facilities within the state.
In response to the report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said medical professionals at detention facilities screen all new detainees within 24 hours of their arrival to ensure that highly contagious diseases are not spread.
The exposure has happened in at least 57 different facilities across the US.
The CDC said Friday that a total of 898 confirmed and probable mumps cases were reported among adult migrants detained in 57 of all 315 facilities housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees across 19 states between Sept. 1, 2018 and Aug. 22, 2019.
Only four of the facilities exposed to mumps are run by ICE. Another 34 facilities are run by private companies who contract with ICE, while 19 are county jails that house detained migrants.
And no, migrants aren’t bringing the infection with them – 84% of migrants were exposed while in US detention centers.
The CDC concluded that 84 percent of all the patients infected, 758 migrants, were exposed to mumps while in ICE custody, whether it was at a facility run by the agency or a company contracted by the agency.
Only 43 people, or 5 percent, were exposed to the virus before apprehension. The custody status of 97 migrants, or 11 percent, was unknown at the time of their exposure.
Thirty-three additional cases occurred among staff members in these facilities.
The high number of mumps cases “prompted a coordinated national outbreak response” from the CDC and ICE.
“As of August 22, 2019, mumps outbreaks are ongoing in 15 facilities in seven states, and new introductions into detention facilities through detainees who are transferred or exposed before being taken into custody continue to occur,” the CDC said in a statement.
Approximately 150 mumps outbreaks and 16,000 cases have been reported in the United States since 2015. Most of these cases have occurred in universities, schools and at athletic events, but this is the first report of mumps outbreaks in detention facilities, according to the CDC.
So what exactly is mumps?
Mumps is a highly-contagious viral disease that was once very common across the world. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell. It can lead to severe complications including death.
In the U.S., vaccines have drastically reduced the number of mumps cases. Only a few hundred cases are reported most years, with periodic outbreaks involving colleges or other places where people are in close contact.
In the migrant center outbreaks, at least 13 people were hospitalized, the CDC reported.
Texas is on high alert because most of the cases have occurred at detention centers located in the state.
A large portion of the cases have been in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services raised the alarm in December, followed by six other state health departments in early January, prompting what the CDC report calls “a coordinated national outbreak response.”
Nashville immigration attorney R. Andrew Free has been tracking facilities with mumps outbreaks from reports of advocates and lawyers representing detainees.
“This has all the makings of a public health crisis,” Free said. “ICE has demonstrated itself incapable of ensuring the health and safety of people inside these facilities.”