Rokita's migrant Ebola threat is irresponsible
Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:00 AM
U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita's statement this week that illegal immigrants crossing the southern border of the United States could spread the deadly Ebola virus only add flames to an already volatile situation.
In a statement, Rokita, R.Ind, said: "The sudden spread of Ebola in Africa is merely one example of how we must take deliberate care to prevent an outbreak of any type of disease inside our borders. ... Reports exist showing that our porous southern border is attracting children and adults from over 75 countries, not just three Central American nations. So far, it's been said that the United States has found over 70 people from Ebola-stricken African countries entering our country from the southern border since January of this year."
The Ebola virus has never been contracted in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Kent Brantly, an Indiana University graduate, caught the virus while treating patients in Liberia. He and a fellow worker have been flown back to the United States for treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.
Rokita's intent, we believe, was to create fear and strengthen the efforts of those who would bring a halt to border crossings.
The nonpartisan fact-checking site PolitiFact.com investigated the claim and reported that the CDC and independent epidemiologists say there's "zero evidence that these migrants are carrying the virus to the border."
The CDC has received no reports of a human Ebola infection in the Western Hemisphere.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center, says that anyone with the virus would be too sick to make it to the U.S. border on foot.
We wonder, was Rokita worried about Ebola being brought across the border before the story about the ill mission workers broke two weeks ago? Regardless, his comments were irresponsible