John Armstrong, Florida's top health official, sent a letter last month to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency taking the extra step of copying the media requesting that they tell him how many of the children who recently crossed the U.S. border from Mexico are in Florida and what illnesses they have. In asserting that this information was "urgently needed and is vital to guarding the health and safety of Florida communities," Armstrong fanned anxieties that the influx of children from Central and South America poses a large-scale threat to public health.
Likewise, Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, a chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, penned a letter last month to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden requesting a national threat assessment, claiming he had heard reports of children crossing the border "carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis." The congressman later added smallpox to his list of diseases of concern.
Let's everybody calm down. No one has ever been infected with Ebola in the Western Hemisphere, dengue fever isn't transmitted from human to human, only one confirmed case of flu has been found so far among the children and smallpox has been eradicated worldwide.