BY LINDA BENTLEY | JULY 2, 2014
Pending alien arrivals, NBPC issues health alert, precautionary protocols
‘[N]o one knows who is coming in, how many there are, where they are coming from, what they are carrying and where they are going’
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Border Patrol agents, accustomed to the risks associated with their jobs, such as combating violent drug cartels, are now being exposed to a host of diseases and infections along with the crushing wave of illegal aliens crossing the border.
Illegal aliens, who have not been screened for highly contagious diseases while being housed in crowded conditions at processing centers until they are bused off to cities across America with nothing more than instructions to report within 15 days, are creating a health crisis and making Border Patrol agents sick.
Border agents have contracted chicken pox, swine flu (H1N1) and tested positive for tuberculosis.
As unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are being transported from the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in Texas to San Diego, Calif. for processing, National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 (NBPC), which represents approximately 2,000 agents, issued a health alert and precautionary protocols in anticipation of their arrival.
NBPC suggested all agents bring a second set of clothes, including socks and shoes, to the station to change into before going home to minimize the chances of infecting their family and friends.
Other recommendations included:
• Place clothes in a plastic trash bag and take it directly from the bag to the washing machine.
• Shower at the station after each shift before going home.
• Get tested for TB
• Agents should refrain from touching their nose, mouth or eyes when processing aliens.
• Gloves should be worn at all times and changed frequently, using hand sanitizer between changes.
• Cells should be disinfected regularly.
• Document detainees suspected or who report having communicable diseases and report to a supervisor as soon as possible.
• All detainees should be given vaccinations before being released into communities.
NBPC also included the following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on preventing and controlling transmittable diseases:
“The intervention measures reported to be efficient for the control and the prevention of common transmissible infections. Depending on the populations targeted, these interventions may include education, chest radiography screening for tuberculosis, directly observed therapy for tuberculosis treatment, improvement of personal clothing and bedding hygiene, and widespread use of ivermectin for scabies and body louse infestation. Systematic vaccination against hepatitis B virus, hepatitis A virus, influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia, and diphtheria is strongly recommended.”
According to National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) Chairman Zack Taylor, the border patrol has apprehended illegal aliens from West Africa coming in through the RGV sector from Mexico and, currently, the Border Patrol is only apprehending about 3 percent of those crossing the border illegally.
Taylor stated, “[T]he danger to the American people is that no one knows who is coming in, how many there are, where they are coming from, what they are carrying and where they are going.”
West African countries are currently experiencing a serious problem with the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus, which has no known treatment.
Because busloads and planeloads of illegal aliens are being transported from the border where they are apprehended to other cities and military bases throughout the country for processing, agents question why the Border Patrol is saddled with dealing with transmissible diseases and infections crossing the border rather than the CDC.
The CDC has the responsibility to warn citizens about their risk of contracting any number of deadly diseases and what they can do to protect themselves.