Last Updated on September 14, 2021
Northern Virginia health officials are reporting cases of measles among at least four Afghan migrants who recently arrived in the United States and exposed American citizens to the disease at several locations, including Dulles International Airport and a children’s hospital. Federal officials have halted flights of Afghans to the United States for at least a week amidst the outbreak.
Officials in the region are working to contact those who may have been exposed to measles. According to local health authorities and media reports, the infected migrants exposed Americans to the disease in at least four separate locations; Dulles International Airport, Stone Springs Hospital Center, Inova L.J. Murphy Children’s Hospital, and the Dulles Expo Center.
Measles, a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, was considered to be eradicated from the United States before making a resurgence following years of increased third-world migration to the country. Symptoms of measles appear in two stages, usually beginning with a high fever, runny nose, and a cough before developing a rash that spreads all over the human body, emanating from the face.
The news of the measles exposures comes as migrants flood the region following Joe Biden’s disastrous Afghan withdrawal and follows reports of Afghan migrants overwhelming northern Virginia hospitals and resources.
At least 29,000 Afghan migrants have passed through Dulles Airport since the influx began and officials estimate that “there are more than 30,000 still to come,” as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says the Commonwealth will allow roughly 10% of them to remain in the state. Many are currently being housed at the Dulles Expo Center, a large-scale public event space.
Aside from bringing cases of measles into the United States and as recently reported by The Washington Post, the massive influx of Afghans to the region has “wreaked havoc” on Northern Virginia’s hospital systems, with one hospital reportedly becoming so overwhelmed with Afghan patients that staff began turning away American citizens in search of care.
According to The Post, federal authorities have even lost track of where some Afghans are being housed and hospitalized, including a one-month-old baby with a life-threatening illness that was later found with the help of a “patient-tracking system.”
The situation has become so dire that the “Northern Virginia Emergency Response System,” usually reserved for natural disasters and mass casualty events, has been activated. Local officials say the federal government has been unresponsive to pleas for physical and financial assistance, though Democrat Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine say they are “monitoring” the situation.