Fearmongering about filthy, disease-ridden immigrants is what has endeared Elizabeth Lee Vliet to WorldNetDaily. And as befits a WND writer and someone affiliated with the ffar-right-ringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, facts just don't seem to matter to her.
In her Aug. 3 WND column, Vliet latches on to the Ebola scare:
Deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever is raging out of control in multiple countries in West Africa. Border Patrol agents confirmed that West Africans have been apprehended coming via Mexico into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, with a number of seriously ill individuals whisked away to undisclosed locations for treatment of undisclosed illnesses. ABC News reported in mid-July that seriously ill illegals were flown from Texas to Ventura Naval base recently with high fever, respiratory difficulties, and coughing blood. At least three required ICU admission. No information was released on what illness was diagnosed, but the time course, severity of symptoms, and need for immediate ICU treatment is not typical for tuberculosis and more consistent with Ebola or hemorrhagic forms of dengue fever.
But the WND article to which Vliet links as evidence says nothing about seriously ill West Africans crossing the southern border and being "whisked away to undisclosed locations for treatment of undisclosed illnesses."
Vliet gets more unhinged and conspiratorial as her column goes on:
Ebola’s use as a weapon of terror and mass destruction has been documented by GlobalSecurity.org, which reports that the former Soviet Union biological weapons program had weaponized the Ebola virus, and that Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese terror group, recently sent members to Africa to harvest the virus during an outbreak.
After long neglecting the contagious disease issues that arose in early June, on July 31, ABC, NBC, CBS and other news outlets simultaneously reported the arrival of two Ebola patients from Africa. Does this give “plausible deniability” to the possible role of illegal border-crossers in bringing Ebola to the U.S.?
In fact, the GlobalSecurity.org article she cites are only speculation and unverified reports (emphasis added):
Reports suggested that the Ebola virus was researched and weaponized by the former Soviet Union's biological weapons program Biopreparat. Dr. Ken Alibek, former the First Deputy Director of Biopreparat, speculated that the Russians had aerosolized the Ebola virus for dissemination as a biological weapon. The Japanese terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo reportedly sent members to Zaire during an outbreak to harvest the virus.
Given that this article is undated, Vliet has no basis to claim any of these purported incidents happened "recently."
Meanwhile, PolitiFact points out just how remote the possibility of Ebola-infected immigrants from West Africa being smuggled across the southern border is, citing actual experts in doing so:
"The incubation period is two to 21 days, so theoretically, an African could fly from an infected area, land in a Mexican airport, take a bus toward the border, hire a coyote to take him across and then ‘present’ with Ebola," said Thomas Fekete, section chief for infectious diseases at the Temple University School of Medicine. "But this presupposes a suicidal person who also has the resources for this kind of travel."
Indeed, the prior, scattered examples of exotic and deadly diseases reaching the United States suggest that "the likelihood of an illegal migrant getting infected and introducing the disease to the U.S. is probably less than that of a ‘legal’ traveler," said Daniel G. Bausch, head of the virology and emerging infections department at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.6 in Lima, Peru.
Another problem: If you had such an infection, the chances are good that you would die on the journey to the United States, said Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. "You would be too sick to make it to the border by foot," he said.
But Vliet isn't done:
Not very contagious? Really? Then why do World Health Organization officials say the “worst on record” Ebola outbreak in three countries in West Africa is spreading out of control? Why all the special hazmat suits for doctors and nurses? Why did two doctors die treating Ebola patients? Why all the special and expensive isolation units for Ebola patients? In sharp contrast to WHO, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, and government spokespersons seem to be going out of their way to downplay risks to Americans.
That's because the risks are, in fact, miniscule. Numerous experts agree that there is little threat of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. because the U.S. health infrastructure is much more robust than it is in West Africa. And since Ebola is not transmitted through the air but, rather, by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, it is indeed "not very contagious."
By spreading lies and conspiracy theories, Vliet is acting in an irresponsible manner with her Ebola fearmongering.