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Did Enterovirus 68 Enter The USA Illegally Over The Border With Mexico?

Early this morning, in response to an article I wrote about sudden demands to stop travel from West Africa in order to stop the Ebola virus from entering the United States, an Irregular Times reader wrote in, suggesting that, “there is another agenda at work. Obama lets in unscreened diseased illegal children by the tens of thousands june through august. September entero 68 starts killing American children.”

It turns out that this comment isn’t an isolated expression of fear. Across the Internet, similar ideas have begun to spread, almost like an infectious disease.

enterovirus 68 illegal childrenAs is often the case, this particular ideological fever hasn’t spread spontaneously. It’s been encouraged by right wing radio. A few weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh said to his listeners, “We had these kids cross the border from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, wherever they came from in Central America, and they were processed real quickly. They were gotten in, gotten out, and they’ve been distributed all over the country. And Obama won’t tell anybody where he put them… Are the two stories related or are they not? Does this sweeping, mysterious virus that’s multiplying across the Midwest, does it have anything to do with it or not?”

Careful readers will notice that Limbaugh uses the cheap debating tactic of asking ominous rhetorical questions without ever bothering to answer them. Limbaugh creates the suggestion that he has reason to believe that children from Central America have caused the enterovirus 68 outbreak, without ever presenting any evidence of such a connection.

The suggestion has been dutifully picked up by right wing writers, who have converted Limbaugh’s loaded questions into confident statements of fact. Stephanie A. Buist, of Now The End Begins, tells her readers that “Illegal Immigrant Children Are Bringing Deadly Enterovirus D68 Across The Border”. Jeannie DeAngelis, at the right wing site “American Thinker”, writes, “The obvious question is this: Where did Enterovirus EV-D68 originate and did it ‘entero’ the U.S. via illegal children? Dr. Besser contended that enteroviruses tend to show up in the summer, which, this year, just so happens to coincide with thousands of unvaccinated and sickly illegal children infiltrating the U.S. border… I guess for liberals, sedated kids on breathing tubes is but a small price to pay if it furthers Obama’s agenda to welcome “unaccompanied minors” into our nation, our classrooms, and, if it comes down to it, even into our children’s lung tissue.”

The Dr. Besser that DeAngelis refers to is Richard Besser, a medical correspondent for ABC News. Dr. Besser’s comments are referred to by a number of right wing conspiracy theorists who assert that enterovirus 68 came into the United States with unaccompanied minors from Central America. If DeAngelis had listened more carefully to what Dr. Besser actually said, however, she would have noticed Besser’s explanation that enterovirus 68 first arrived in the United States in 1962. The Washington Post notes that there were widespread outbreaks of enterovirus 68 in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

The logic reasoning needed to debunk the idea that unaccompanied children who crossed into the United States through Mexico in the summer of 2014 is not complicated. If enterovirus 68 has been in the United States for 52 years, it could not have been brought into the United States by an event that took place a few months ago. There is no evidence that causally links this autumn’s outbreak of enterovirus 68 in the United with the travel of a relatively small number of children from Central America into the United States this summer.

10 thoughts on “Did Enterovirus 68 Enter The USA Illegally Over The Border With Mexico?”

  1. Corlyss Drinkard says:

    You’re funny. You think “logical reasoning” will deal with the very legitimate question of whether illegal alien kids brought enterovirus to the US? You need a refresher course in critical thinking. The only thing that will answer the question is facts. I realize facts are hard things for people who refer to opponents as “right wingers”, but facts will be the only antidotes for the rumors.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Um, this article does refer to facts, such as the year that enterovirus 68 entered the U.S. (52 years before the foreign children now accused by right wingers of bringing enterovirus 68 with them ever set foot in the USA). There is no evidence at all that children from Latin America are responsible.

  2. Bruce Nappi says:

    J. Keep up the good work. Your posts, I’m sure, will be read far and wide. Showing people how to stay objective in the face of irrational tirades will give them the confidence to do more of the same.

  3. Marcia says:

    Your stupidity does not trump our rights to protect our children…

    1. J Clifford says:

      Do you have a right to deny the needs of other people’s children in order to soothe your fears about imaginary threats to your own children?

      1. Chris says:

        So “the needs of other people’s children” (illegal aliens) takes precedent over the safety of American children on American soil… Something doesn’t sound right there. Rush was running his mouth as usual and enterovirus d68 probably has nothing to do with children illegally entering America by the thousands. Let’s just keep the border wide open, turn a blind eye to thousands of people BREAKING THE LAW (it is law whether you agree with it or not) and wait until they start bringing ebola in to do anything about it. Does that sound like logical reasoning?

        1. J Clifford says:

          No, it doesn’t sound like logical reasoning to me, because it takes a future event and casts it as a present premise. You are speaking as if you know that Ebola is going to come up across the Mexican border, when in fact Ebola is not at all prevalent in Central America. Mixing dark fantasies into the middle of an attempted logical argument never works well.

          1. Chris says:

            It may not be prevalent now, but what’s to stop it from happening if the United States imposes a travel ban on West African countries? What’s the second easiest way to get into the country?
            Hopefully the death of Duncan sent a message to anyone else considering fleeing that region to come here for treatment.

  4. Colin says:

    Daily Caller is now reporting that the connection between the epidemic of Entero 68 and the flood of illegals being bussed around the country is all but confirmed. To say otherwise is to put your head in the sand. Yes, strains have been found here before. But this is by far the widest and most serious outbreak. Before this year, there were only 26 cases found in a study from 1970 to 2006. This year has seen almost 700 cases. It’s not rocket science to connect the wide outbreak to a flood of illegals entering the country from places where the virus is much more prevalent.

    1. J Clifford says:

      You’re right, Colin. It’s not rocket science to conclude that cases of enterovirus 68 were caused by illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico. It’s utter idiocy.

      You have no evidence that this is actually the case, Colin. You have no epidemiological studies that support your case. You WANT it to be the case, to support your political agenda.

      You’re engaging in the fallacy of confusing association with causation. You note that people have caught enterovirus 68 in the same year that some children crossed the border with Mexico, and then conclude that the two must be related. Many other things happened this year, though, Colin.

      The Sochi Olympics were held. Russia invaded Crimea. Latvia adopted the Euro. Belgium legalized euthanasia. The FIFA World Cup took place in Brazil. All these things happened, and then some Americans got enterovirus 68. Do you think these events were causes of the enterovirus 68 cases?

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