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Exclusive: Feds Struggling to Cope with Medical ‘Breakdown’ at the Border – ABC News Radio

LINK to video report @ http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=24596050

WASHINGTON — The federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it can’t provide basic medical screening to all of the children before transporting them — often by air — to longer-term holding facilities across the country, ABC News has learned. The director of refugee health in the federal Health and Human Services Department “has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility,” according to an internal Department of Defense memo reviewed by ABC News. Inside the government, officials are sounding alarms, fearing that they and their teams who come in contact with the sick children face potential exposure to infectious diseases from chicken pox to influenza, including rare cases of H1N1, more commonly called swine flu…

The memo said pointedly that officials in charge of moving the immigrants from Border Patrol processing centers to Health and Human Services facilities are “putting sick [fevers and coughing] unaccompanied children on airplanes inbound for [Naval Base Ventura County] in addition to the chicken pox and coxsackie virus cases.” The document said three other kids were in the ICU at local hospitals in California, and two of them were diagnosed with strep pneumonia. Less than a week later, that same Ventura Naval Base suffered an outbreak of pneumonia and influenza among the unaccompanied minors inside the shelter…

… according to the memo ABC News reviewed, “Curi Kim [the HHS director of the Division of Refugee Health] has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility. The [unaccompanied children] were initially screened and cleared upon entry into that facility with no fever or significant symptoms. They were not however re-screened and cleared for travel and placement at a temporary shelter.”

Read the Rest @ the Border – Health News – ABC News Radio

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