The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent a private warning to the chief of Afghan evacuation operations that measles is spreading among refugees and poses the danger of “larger imminent outbreaks” that could threaten U.S communities already reeling from the coronavirus.
CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky’s memo Tuesday night urged Operations Allies Welcome senior official Robert Fenton to take “urgent public health action,” revealing there are now six confirmed cases of measles in Afghan refugees, 17 suspect cases and hundreds of exposures in U.S. hospitals.
“The large number of unvaccinated Afghan evacuees as seen already has the potential to seed countless U S community outbreaks,” Walensky warned in the four-page memo obtained by Just the News.
Walensky wrote the current cases are “an indicator of potentially much larger imminent outbreaks” that could already overwhelm hospitals fighting the deadly surge of the Delta coronavirus variant.
“Immediate implementation of CDC public health standards is imperative to prevent introduction of measles into US communities and to respond to multiple concurrent measles outbreaks,” she wrote.
She added, “Health care facilities are already at limited capacity as they battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which requires tremendous workforce in laboratory assets.”
Measles was declared eradicated from America decades ago after an aggressive vaccine campaign, and its reintroduction to American communities could prove deadly to those it infects who aren’t vaccinated, officials warn.
The imminent fears of large outbreaks comes less than a week after the first measles case was detected in a Afghan refugee patient at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.