- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Border patrol agents who have already experienced scabies infestations from illegal border crossers now fear the thousands of children who are sweeping into the United States are bringing a host of new diseases and ailments — of even more serious nature.

“We are starting to see chicken pox, MRSA staph infections; we are starting to see different viruses,” said Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera said, ABC 15 reported.

Meanwhile, agents are still fighting off the scabies, a highly contagious skin disease that causes massive itching due to burrowing mites. An estimated 10-to-15 percent of illegal immigrants who are captured in the Rio Grande Valley region are found to have scabies, and some have passed the disease on to border agents, Breitbart reported. Yet agents don’t have time to screen all those who have been entering lately for diseases.

“We don’t screen for diseases,” said Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora, to Breitbart Texas. “All we are is a processing center, so we don’t do that.”

And that is leaving some agents nervous about the processing.

“Apparently, a significant amount of communicable disease is suspected by custodial and agent personnel,” Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas. “What level of medical screening, if any, is being done is unknown. What the medical testing shows is likely not being shared with the agents. And, there are potential communicable diseases that the detainees will not be tested for unless individually requested by a medical officer, which is unlikely without acute symptoms.”

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Meanwhile, Mr. Cabrera warned that diseases brought across the border could easily spread to other parts of the country.

“It’s contagious. We are transporting people to different parts of the state and different parts of the country,” he said, ABC 15 reported.

The Department of Homeland Security, in response, said officials are “conducting public health screens on all incoming detainees to screen for any symptoms of contagious diseases of possible public health concern,” Breitbart reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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