I’m sure we have all heard the shrill cries from the right wing nuts about the coming pandemic of disease being brought to american shores by the flood of “unaccomapanied minors” arriving from central america.
Everone from Fox to WND is running multiple apocolyptic stories a day. Featuring such “experts” as Fox contributor Dr Elizabeth Lee Viliet (whose pratice centers solely on the very profitable field of hormone replacement and who, as far as I can tell, has zero experience in communicable diseases or public health. And who they proudly proclaim is a member of the lofty sounding Association of American Physicians and Surgeons- which is nothing more then a far right conservative group founded after WWII to “stop the spread of socialized medicine”).
So let us look at some actual facts. There have been over a half million unaccompanied minors at the border in recent months. And so far it appears we have had, suspected or confirmed, one case of h1n1 (swine flu). A couple cases of TB. A few cases of measels. And asorted cases of, gasp, lice and scabies.
Now, let’s be real. All of these diseases already exist in the US. TB and h1n1 cases in particular have been surging in recent years, thanks to everything from the reality of globabl travel and the rise in the anti-vacination folks in america.
And let us look at some facts about these central americcan countries shall we? Thanks in no small part to Dr Vilets bugaboo- socialized medicine, these central american countries actually have vacination levels on par or exceeding those in the US. For example- this oft quoted article by the right on the situation actually goes on to debunk the risks with actual facts for anyone that actually bothers to read it. As does this article from the Texas Observer, or the raw data from Unicef here.
So, the evidence paints a much different story. There is no particularly great risk from these unacompanied minors. Nor “illegal immigrants” in general. The biggest risk is the far right (and far left) anti-vacination folks. And the general risk is simply the reality of the world we live in today. Millions of travellers in and out of this country to and from points all over the globe. – whether for family, pleasure, or work.
There simply is no great risk presented by these children, or immigrants in general. But the far right knows that fear is a very powerful tool- especially when combined with a combination of ignorance and a general unwillingness to deal with facts that contradict a belief.