Possible Ebola in Migrant Caravans Heading Toward U.S.
The migrant caravan heading toward the United States unwittingly carries a weapon that could sicken millions if a single infected person breeches the enormous military barricade President Trump has deployed along the southern border, says a WHO physician who claims two migrant marchers were airlifted from Guatemala after displaying Ebola-like symptoms.
Mexico City based physician Dr. Jose Lopez told us that Doctors Without Borders embedded several physicians within the caravan to mend wounds and watch for outbreaks of common tropical pathologies—cholera, swine influenza, Malaria, West Nile Virus, etc. Although no country along the caravan’s route is considered an Ebola hot zone, Ecuador, Honduras, and part of Mexico have reported sporadic cases of Marburg and Lassa Virus, which, like Ebola, are grouped as hemorrhagic fevers. Dr. Lopez was not on location, but received firsthand reports on the incident.
Dr. Lopez said the patients, a man and a woman who travelled in close proximity to one another, became ill Sunday morning after crossing the Guatemalan border. Other refugees in the third and smallest caravan—numbering approximately 600—noticed bloody tears dripping from the male’s bloodshot eyes. He also bled from his ears and nostrils.
According to Dr. Lopez, the man’s frightful appearance panicked some migrants, prompting shouts of “El Diablo,” as they apparently mistook him for the devil. When he responded, “Creo que tango el ebola. Estoy muy enformo”or“ I think I have Ebola. I’m very sick,” those around him ran as fast and as far as they could in every direction.
A Good Samaritan, however, located a physician travelling with the herd and brought him to the infected couple’s location.
“Even from meters away, the doctor saw they appeared to have typical symptoms of hemorrhagic fever. He did not have protective clothing and was not prepared to handle such a sickness. The man said he was not sick when he and his girlfriend left Honduras. He said he was in terrible pain and defecating blood. The physician tossed them thermometers for temperature readings; the man had nearly 105 and his companion 104. At that point, he used a satellite phone to call for help,” Dr. Lopez said.
An hour later a medevac flight arrived on scene, and a half-dozen specialists in bio-hazard suits escorted the couple onto a chopper. Dr. Lopez believes they were taken to Hospital Herrera Llerandi in Guatemala City. Meanwhile, the health officials who remained on location scoured the area for signs of other walking wounded, but their search was in vain because nearly everyone had fled or merely vanished into the dense, impenetrable jungle.
“Even if they test negative for Ebola, I suspect it will be some type of highly contagious hemorrhagic fever,” Dr. Lopez said. “Normally, by the time I person starts hemorrhaging blood from their orifices, their organs are shutting down and they are comatose or dead. There are not many cases of Ebola victims walking around with these symptoms, but atypical cases do occur. Now there is a bigger problem.”
Because the tightly packed caravan has people walking shoulder-to-shoulder, often abutting one another, Dr. Lopez said there is a high probability that others were exposed to the pathogen. Ebola has a fifty percent average mortality rate and is spread through direct contact with bodily fluid, including nasal discharge, sweat, and, of course, blood. If the Guatemalan caravan reforms or an infected person merges with a larger caravan, the chance of an international pandemic increases exponentially, Dr. Lopez said.
What’s worse, three caravans with an estimated 20,000 migrants now march toward our southern border. Even one ill person slipping through the net could start a chain reaction that could affect countless others.
“Donald Trump sends military to the border. But troops and tanks are nothing compared to the strength of Ebola. The death toll could be catastrophic,” Dr. Lopez said.