NEW YORK – Dengue hemorrhagic fever has been added to the list of diseases brought by the surge of “unaccompanied minors” who have illegally entered the U.S. this year.
“The big picture here is that we are getting all these diseases brought into the United States by the ‘imported disease people’ from Latin America,” Dr. Lee Hieb, past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, explained to WND in an interview.
“We don’t generally test for dengue fever, because until recently we have not had hordes of people coming into the United States from areas of the world like Latin America where dengue fever is endemic,” said Hieb, a WND columnist.
“With other diseases, like TB, we generally test to see if immigrants coming into the United States legally have the disease. But if your one of the ‘chosen few’ coming into the United States illegally from Latin America, the U.S. does no health screening whatsoever.”
In March, as the Ebola outbreak was first becoming evident in West Africa, the United Nations World Health Organization warned the incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever had “grown dramatically” around the world in recent decades. At least 2.5 billion people, more than 40 percent of the world’s population, are now at risk from dengue, and the WHO anticipated some 50 to 100 million dengue infections would occur worldwide every year.
The WHO has documented that before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics. The disease has been diagnosed in more than 100 countries in Africa, Latin America, Indonesia, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.
As WND reported Oct. 29, dengue hemorrhagic fever mosquito has surfaced in San Diego and Los Angeles, with suspicion growing the disease-bearing mosquitoes have been carried into the United States on the clothing and baggage of the “unaccompanied minors.”
In addition to dengue hemorrhagic fever, the mosquito can also transmit diseases such as Chikungunya, which brings paralyzing joint pain and yellow fever. The two diseases are ravaging not only Africa but also Latin America.
While dengue hemorrhagic fever is typically not fatal, the WHO documents the disease causes a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, with symptoms that include severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands and rash.
“The big picture here is that the United States has spent millions of dollars over the last hundred years to rid ourselves of some of these diseases that were once endemic in America,” Hieb explained. “Malaria is much like dengue fever in that it is transmitted by mosquitoes. But the main problem is that Latin American illegal immigrants are being allowed to enter the United States that are infected by diseases like malaria and dengue fever.”
Hieb explained why allowing into the U.S. illegal immigrants already infected by diseases such as malaria and dengue fever increases the risk of starting an epidemic of a disease that was once thought to have been eradicated in the country.
“Right now, if you get bitten by a mosquito in your backyard in Nebraska, the chance of you getting malaria or dengue fever is very small,” she said. “But the more people you bring into the United States who are have malaria or dengue fever in their blood streams, the greater are the chances you are going to get malaria or dengue fever from being bitten by a mosquito in your backyard in Nebraska.”
The WHO pointed out the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary carrier of dengue. The U.N. agency explained the virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. After incubation of four to 10 days, an infected mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life.
The WHO further documents infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source for uninfected mosquitoes.
Patients who are already infected can transmit the dengue virus for four to five days, up to a maximum of 12 days, via Aedes mosquitoes after their symptoms first appear.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta points out there are no vaccines today effective to prevent infection with dengue virus, and “the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites.”
Hieb agreed the only ways to prevent getting diseases such as malaria or dengue fever that are carried by mosquitoes is to use heavy mosquito repellant, wear long-sleeve shirts and avoid going outside in dawn or dusk when mosquitoes tend to be most active.
“Without an effective vaccine, you have to make sure you don’t have much skin exposed to the open air,” she stressed. “The only way to make sure you don’t get malaria or dengue fever, should an epidemic of either disease take hold in the United States, is to make sure you don’t get bitten by a mosquito.”