Afghan refugees arriving in the United States must be immunized against measles and quarantined starting from Sept. 17.
Joe Biden’s administration has signed a new order that adds measles to the list of quarantinable communicable diseases.
This executive decision came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 16 cases of the virus, which causes fever and a red rash, among the Middle Eastern evacuees. Patients and individuals who came into close contact have already been isolated.
Every evacuee must now receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and quarantine for at least 21 days to build immunity.
BL understands only 60% of the Afghan population has been vaccinated for measles. CDC suspects a high possibility the disease could spread among refugees living in close quarters.
Most Afghan evacuees enter the United States through Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The Old Dominion State’s northern and central areas recently experienced a measles outbreak according to The New York Times.
Virginian authorities are confident the risks of measles spreading to the general population is low. The state Department of Health has not reported any community transmission.
Flights carrying asylum seekers to the United States from overseas bases have been temporarily suspended for a week as a precautionary measure.
Varicella, mumps, tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, hepatitis A, and COVID-19 have also been detected among Afghan evacuees.
“COVID incidence in this population has been notably low [and] COVID immunization and testing is being provided for all evacuees,” the CDC website said.
Evacuees are also at risk of contracting shigellosis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and other gastrointestinal illnesses.