HHS: No Reported Cases of Enterovirus Among 68,541 Unaccompanied Illegal Minors

By Melanie Arter | October 29, 2014 | 11:09 AM EDT

Children detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Of the 68,541 unaccompanied illegal alien children who entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2014, none were reported to have the enterovirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

CNSNews.com asked, “Just to clarify, you’re saying that none of the unaccompanied minors who have entered the U.S. had the enterovirus?”

“There were none reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement,” Kenneth Wolfe, spokesman for the Administration of Children and Families for the Department of Health and Human Services, told CNSNews.com in an emailed response.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the enterovirus 68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. The first case of enterovirus 68 in the United States was diagnosed in 1962 in California.

The virus causes respiratory illness, is found in the infected person’s respiratory secretions and is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others. There are no anti-viral medications currently available to treat the disease. In 2014, eight patients who were diagnosed with the enterovirus have died, the CDC reported.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported that 68,541 unaccompanied children were apprehended along the southwest U.S. border in Fiscal Year 2014, which is from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Wolfe said that between January and September 2014, 10 minors in the unaccompanied alien children were diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

When CNSNews.com asked what strains of TB the illegal minors had, Wolfe responded, “sensitive to first line TB drugs.”

According to Wolfe, none of the minors had multi-drug resistant TB or extensively drug resistant TB.

“Antibiotic treatment for TB can be required for six months or more. Given that the course of treatment is for such a long period of time, who monitors that the unaccompanied minors with TB are taking their antibiotics correctly for the duration required,” CNSNews.com asked.

“They were referred to the local health department; health departments have protocols for directly observed therapy for TB patients,” Wolfe responded.


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