October 19, 2021

Obama Critics Say President’s Policies Brought Enterovirus to US

Researchers would “have to do the genetic analysis” to prove whether there’s a link between the enterovirus epidemic that proved fatal for nine American children and a similar strain of the virus found in Central America, says a scientist studying the disease.

However, critics of President Barack Obama say that his policies allowing tens of thousands of Central Americans to cross the Texas border this year brought the epidemic on that has killed nine American children and left 50 or more paralyzed, and The Daily Caller reports that growing evidence is pointing to the illegally immigrating minors.

Multiple strains of the deadly disease popped up in independent locations almost simultaneously, but Nora Chapman, an enterovirus scientist at the University of Nebraska told the conservative website that more studies need to be done to prove the link.

But government researchers and health experts refused to comment about the possible link, the website reported.

“I would just steer away from that — it is not helpful, so why bring it up,” said Lone Simonsen, a professor at George Washington University’s Department of Global Health, who serves as research director of the university’s Global Epidemiology Program. “A better angle [is] ‘We’re just learning what this outbreak is all about.’ ”

The EV-D68 strain of the virus is one of 100 types of enteroviruses, which cause between 10 million and 15 million infections nationally every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Testing is not always conducted, but out of tests conducted from 1970 to 2005, the viruses were found in 49,637 ill patients, according to a CDC report.

But of those, only 26 people had confirmed cases of the EV-D68 strain that is proving dangerous this year to schoolchildren.

Outbreaks of the EV-D68 strain are rare worldwide too, the reports show. In the Netherlands, there were 10 cases in 2012, three cases in 2013 and eight cases in 2014.

But after 2008, EV-D68 numbers climbed in the United States, with 79 cases between 2009 and 2013, CDC reports show, including 47 cases in 2011.

Dr. Steve Oberste, chief of the polio and picornavirus laboratory branch in CDC’s Division of Viral Disease, said the big upswing of EV-D68 was not seen until August, which The Daily Caller pointed out came while 40,000 young Central American migrants were arriving in the United States.

By August and September, emergency rooms nationwide suddenly started reporting treating hundreds of children with the EV-D68 strain of enterovirus, with some hospitals closing their ER departments.

Not all of the children were tested for the strain, but by Oct. 24, the number of confirmed infections was at 998, or 300 times more than during the 33 years between 1970 to 2003.

But enteroviruses are also common in South and Central America, including the EV-D68 strain.

More than 170,000 migrants have come into the United States since 2011, The Daily Caller reports, with 40,000 children crossing over as Central America became aware of a U.S. law that requires hearings for immigrants from countries other than Mexico and Canada before deporting them.