CDC: Afghan evacuees arriving in U.S. with infectious diseases like measles, malaria, tuberculosis

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WASHINGTON, DC – After learning that the Biden administration has transported Afghans into the United States infected with measles, malaria, and tuberculosis; the CDC has been forced to order thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan to be quarantined for three weeks after being inoculated against Measles at U.S. military bases.

In an advisory issued Monday to medical personnel caring for evacuees, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said it had requested the quarantine period to allow the vaccine to take effect. That guidance includes evacuees at both domestic and overseas U.S. bases.

More than 9,000 evacuees have been housed at Ramstein Air Base and Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Germany  after their flights were halted after four Measles cases were discovered among Afghans arriving in the U.S.

Sandra Archer, a spokeswoman for the 86th Airlift Wing, said there was no date set for the resumption of flights:

“We’ll continue to follow CDC guidance and public health expert guidance during this temporary CDC pause.”

The CDC issued an official Health Advisory recommending that clinicians be on alert for cases of measles and other diseases among those brought to the U.S. from the evacuation of Afghanistan following the Taliban’s return to power:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that clinicians be on alert for cases of Measles that meet the case definition, as well as other infectious diseases, including mumps, leishmaniasis, and malaria, among evacuees (including both Afghan nationals and U.S. citizens) from Afghanistan.

“Clinicians should immediately notify their local or state health department of any suspected cases of Measles.”

The advisory explains that Measles is an “extremely” contagious infectious disease. About nine out of 10 people who are close contacts and who are not protected will become infected following exposure to the Measles virus.

As of September 20, the CDC said it has been notified of 16 confirmed cases of Measles and 4 cases of mumps among Afghan and U.S. citizens arriving from Afghanistan.

Although evacuees are now being quarantined, the CDC admits many were released into the U.S. prior to being identified as infected:

“Evacuees who are in the United States are required to be vaccinated with MMR and complete a 21-day quarantine from the time of vaccination at U.S. ‘Safe Haven’ designated locations, such as military bases1.

“ Some evacuees left bases before Measles cases were identified and a mass vaccination campaign began. In addition, some evacuees who arrived in the United States early in the repatriation and resettlement process were transported to locations other than the current eight bases for temporary housing.”

There are also concerns being expressed about evacuees in the United States being infected with other viruses, including tuberculosis:

“The CDC is also aware of some cases of varicella, mumps, tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, hepatitis A, and COVID-19 among evacuees. Although COVID incidence in this population has been notably low, COVID immunization and testing is being provided for all evacuees.

“Environmental and personal hygiene, elimination of crowding, wearing masks, and safe food and water supplies will address most of these; however, individuals supporting this effort should ideally be vaccinated against hepatitis A, in addition to being current on routine U.S. immunizations.”

Although MMR vaccination is being required of evacuees, the Biden administration has refused to issue a mandate for Afghan migrants to be given COVID-19 vaccines at a time when the coronavirus just surpassed the total U.S. deaths from the 1918 Spanish Flue epidemic.

Afghan evacuees are offered the COVID-19 vaccine for free at several sites, but the procedure is not required. The Biden administration has not issued the same mandate to evacuees as he has for millions of Americans working for the federal government, healthcare, and educational settings.

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LET Unity
The hidden threat: Afghanistan evacuations posing massive health threats on U.S. military bases 

September 10, 2021

 

This op-ed is written by Chelsey Poisson, a U.S. Army Veteran, Emergency Department & Trauma Nurse, Clinical Researcher, Internationally Published Author and the Executive Director at the HunterSeven Foundation – one of the “charities of choice” for Law Enforcement Today.  

The fall of Afghanistan has evoked many emotions within the American public and specifically the Veteran community. Widespread conversations about the wellbeing of the allies have evolved, but something that is yet to be addressed is the wellbeing of the service member as it relates to the evacuation.

While many Afghans have been saved from the imminent threats, the mission to support these allies is far from over. The health conditions rooted in the poverty and environmental exposures of the Afghanistan region plague the masses that will migrate to the United States.

Assuring our Afghan supporters are medically assessed, screened, and treated is the humanitarian, ethical thing to do. We owe it to them.

As an organization focused on military exposures, the HunterSeven Foundation views this current situation as a potential exposure for military personnel – not only for those that supported evacuation efforts in-country, but also individuals that are working on military bases or healthcare facilities that may be treating the refugees.

Let us explain why we believe this is an important topic and one that should be a part of the conversation relating to the Afghanistan withdrawal.

We are specifically talking about tuberculosis (TB), a disease that has been nearly eradicated in the United States but remains prevalent in Afghanistan.

Tuberculosis is one of four communicable diseases of “public health significance” that restricts entry and makes immigration inadmissible in the United States. In 2019, active forms of tuberculosis infection were present in nearly a half million Afghans, a number suspected to be drastically underreported.

In comparison, during the same year, the United States reported approximately 9,000 cases of tuberculosis (74% of those being born outside of the country).

Tuberculosis, a minuscule sized bacterium, can survive approximately six months outside of the body if protected from sunlight – making close quarters ideal for exposure and potential transmission, occurring from something as simple as a cough, sneeze, or conversation.

Tuberculosis can be in an inactive or latent state – meaning one does not show signs or symptoms but does possess the bacteria and can activate an infection under immunocompromising circumstances: states of chronic, prolonged stress, fatigue, poor diet, and malnutrition – all in which are currently impacting the Afghan refugee population and our military service members.

In America, we have the capabilities to reduce widespread disease and can do so with preventative measures. The question is – are we screening TB infections as part of the intake process for these refugees and for those that are on active duty assisting them?

And if not, what is the potential fallout of thousands of Afghan people being transported to the US and allied countries with a potentially life-threatening infectious disease?

If not properly screened, those with TB could inadvertently spread the illness to people with whom they are in immediate contact, including service members that assisted in the evacuation and provide relocation support. 

For our service members, active tuberculosis is not currently common, but remains a diagnostic concern among healthcare professionals in deployed settings for numerous reasons.

It is unclear if standard deployment protocols, which include infectious disease screening, will be in place for those supporting the evacuation efforts. It is our hope that both the refugees and service members will be screened for potential exposures.

The fallout of an infectious disease outbreak could be a massive burden to the medical infrastructure as specific treatments, services, and equipment are required to properly control TB.

Moreover, the impact of an outbreak within a military unit could cause a significant reduction in effectiveness.

Understanding exposures, in conjunction with preventative healthcare measures, is the best way to maintain the highest level of warfighter health.

As a team of medical researchers and combat veterans, we, at HunterSeven Foundation are always thinking about potential exposures to our military and how to educate our fellow service members about their risks.

We’ve tracked toxic exposures in Afghanistan through our research, but this current situation proves that the exposures tied to that region pose a greater threat to our community. It is our duty to ask, “how are we protecting our military from this potential exposure?”

And to determine how we can best educate service members about their risks and exposure potential.

Congressman: Afghan evacuees have “free reign” at military base, “greatest security risks this nation has ever had”

FORT PICKETT, VA- We apparently learned nothing from the September 11 terrorist attacks that took down both towers of the World Trade Center, significantly damaged the Pentagon, saw a plane full of heroes go down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and which killed over 3,000 Americans—and continues to take casualties.

Breitbart News noted that appearing this week on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) was discussing correspondence he sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which he sought answers after he was notified by a source that Afghans being “held” at the Fort Pickett, Virginia military base basically have “free rein” of the base and are actually allowed to come and go at will from the base using ride sharing services such as Uber.

“The State Department is failing to give them adequate information. They’re letting them leave. They can catch an Uber and actually leave the base,” Green said of the Afghan “refugees.”

“They don’t know exactly how many are even there, so they can’t account for someone if they don’t return.”

In the interview with host Laura Ingraham, Green told her that the State Department’s response to the Afghanistan withdrawal has been a “complete failure.”

“We don’t have biometrics on a good portion of these people, and we can’t really get information from State because they won’t provide the names,” he said.

“They won’t provide any information on the people, the numbers that they have. They won’t even tell us how many American citizens they evacuated. We tried to get that number, you know, requested through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) the other day, and I could not get that past. It’s just crazy. This State Department is a complete failure.

“We have no way of knowing who they are, and we’ve had talks with people who are saying they know Taliban is in some of these flights,” Green added. “So this is one of the greatest security risks this nation has ever had, and this president and this State Department don’t seem to care.”

This leads to the question of who is exactly did we let in? In an op-ed, Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner posed that question. He noted that Republican Rep. Thom Tiffany (WI) had toured the Fort McCoy army base in western Wisconsin, where some 3,000 Afghan refugees have been housed.

“The refugees at the base have no visas and haven’t undergone the standard vetting process,” Tiffany told the Examiner’s Tori Richards.

“Does this mean they have ties to the Taliban, ISIS, or al-Qaida? Do they have ties to terror organizations, yet [the State Department] just says we are fully vetting them? I am concerned that they don’t have the information on background make sure they are fully vetted.”

The American people have been told (in a clear series of lies) that how  many of those actually evacuated from Afghanistan actually helped the United States during the 20-year American engagement in the country? We have been told that these are “Afghan allies,” leading the American people to believe that these were Afghan citizens who assisted the United States.

The so-called “priority list for evacuees were supposed to be in this order—American citizens, Afghan allies (those who actively assisted the US during the engagement), and finally other Afghans, who are nowhere near the top of the list, York said.

As York notes, given the frenetic pace at which the Biden administration forced itself to evacuate the country, it is unknown who in fact was removed from Afghanistan to the United States.

According to a recent story in the Washington Post, an Afghan man named “Mustafa” was a man who had helped US forces and was able to board an American plane:

‘Many [of those on board] had minimal identification and did not appear to have worked closely with the United States as [Mustafa] had, serving as a translator and analyst,” the Post reported. “They were ‘just people,’ Mustafa said, who took advantage of the disorderly evacuation to flee their turbulent country. ‘Nobody knows who was the good guy and who was the bad guy getting into the plane,’ said Mustafa…’It’s a risky thing that I believe happened.’”

As York noted, there are still currently American citizens stranded in Afghanistan, while thousands of Afghans who have not been vetted have arrived and continue to arrive in the United States courtesy of the Biden administration.

Hopefully this won’t lead us to once again having to suffer through a 9/11 type terror attack.

In case you missed it, last month as the Afghan exit was coming to a conclusion, we reported on the Taliban going door-to-door engaging in executions. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – According to reports, the Taliban have allegedly started going door-to-door and committing executions in Kabul following the United States’ exit from Afghanistan.

Furthermore, audio hosting the sounds of distant gunfire was shared to Fox News by an Afghan man who worked with Americans on the ground.

In a portion of the audio clip provided to Fox News, the Afghan man stated the following:

“I think there’s a conflict between the Taliban, I have no idea where I’m located. From everywhere I hear the sounds of shooting, gunfire. I have no idea how to leave.”

The recording of the audio reportedly took place at around the same time that the final U.S. plane left Kabul.

A senior U.S. official also reportedly told Fox News that the Taliban were carrying out “house-to-house executions in Kabul” following the departure of the United States.

This revelation comes shortly after President Joe Biden did not refute a Politico report noting that U.S. officials in Kabul offered the Taliban a list of Americans in the country, green card holders, and Afghan allies in order to enable them access to the airport, which this practice of course caused concern among military officials.

The official Twitter account for the Taliban posted a celebratory message after the final plane took off in Kabul, writing the following:

“The last American soldier left Kabul airport at 9pm Afghan time tonight and our country gained full independence, Alhamdulillah Walmana.”

Retired 2-Star Army General Vincent Boles cautioned that the Taliban should not to become too comfortable with declaring independence, because they must now demonstrate on a national level that they will follow through on their vows to be a different Taliban than two decades ago:

“Be careful what you ask for. Now they have to show they can govern a nation and people that are very different than when they left power. Will the Taliban go forward to the future or pull Afghanistan back to the past? The answer will be in their behavior…behavior is believable.”

Earlier in August, while the evacuations were still in full-swing, a former translator for a high-ranking U.S. Army Ranger claimed that the Taliban had already started executing U.S. allies in public, in areas away from Kabul so as to avoid media attention:

“They are not doing really bad stuff in Kabul right now because there’s a lot of media focus on Kabul, but they already started public execution in other provinces where a lot of media is not available or covering it.”

In another concerning development, the CENTCOM commander, Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., stated that “we did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” prior to the August 31st deadline. General McKenzie explained that the final five flights leaving the country did not host any American citizens:

“We maintained the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out. None of them made it to the airport and were able to be accommodated.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that a “small number” of Americans remain in the country that want to actually leave Afghanistan, estimating the number to be somewhere around 100:

“We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We’re trying to determine exactly how many.”

General McKenzie says that with there being no American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, officials will have to rely on diplomatic efforts to get the Americans back home:

“I believe that we’re going to get those people out. I think we’re also going to negotiate very hard and very aggressively to get our other Afghan partners out. Our desire to bring these people out remains as intense as it was before.”
 

 

 

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