A measles outbreak has occurred among Afghan refugees who recently arrived at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Fort McCoy is one of the military bases housing thousands of Afghan refugees after recent evacuation attempts because of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Due to the infectious nature of the disease, an internal document obtained by Fox News stated that Fort McCoy is no longer receiving refugees “at this time.” However, a spokesperson for Task Force McCoy allegedly told Fox News that they are still accepting refugees despite the measles infection. Fort McCoy has the capacity to house 13,000 Afghan refugees.
The internal government email regarding the situation stated, “All those who had been in contact with the infected person at base have been isolated, and post-exposure prophylaxis and inoculations are in process.”
The spokesperson also told Fox News the fort was not authorized to give any specific medical cases or information, but the spokesperson told Fox News that “the health of the Afghans at Fort McCoy is a top priority.” Fort McCoy’s spokesperson also shared that Afghan citizens were being screened and were given immunizations as necessary.
According to Fox News, “a senior U.S. government official confirmed to Fox News that officials identified a single measles case as part of what they called a robust health screening process.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, measles is a highly transmissible disease. The CDC’s website reads, “Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.” The CDC also says that “Measles virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace after an infected person leaves an area.”
Afghanistan is one of the top measles epicenters worldwide, according to CDC data. The CDC also said that “The 2019 U.S. measles outbreaks were all linked to travel-related cases that reached at-risk populations (un or under vaccinated against measles) in the United States.”
Measles is not the only disease present in the Wisconsin refugee camp. According to a local CBS reporter, some Wisconsin Democrat lawmakers who toured Fort McCoy “said they are a ‘couple’ of refugees who are infected with COVID-19.”
Other hosts for refugees, in addition to Fort McCoy, include the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, Fort Pickett in Virginia, Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix in New Jersey.
– – –
Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].