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4/26/2009
IT’S SILLY TO BLAME A POROUS BORDER FOR SWINE FLU IN US

Yes, silly.

I’ve blogged for years about the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the U.S. as a result of uncontrolled immigration. We’ve heard for years from reckless open-borders ideologues who continue to insist there’s nothing to worry about. And we’ve heard for years that calling any attention to the dangers of allowing untold numbers of people to pass across our borders and through our other ports of entry without proper medical screening - as required of every legal visitor/immigrant to this country - is RAAAACIST.

9/11 didn’t convince the open-borders zealots to put down their race cards and confront reality.

Maybe the threat of their sons or daughters contracting a deadly virus spread from south of the border to their Manhattan prep schools will.

I am as strong a supporter of guarding our borders and dramatically reducing illegal immigration as anyone but the attempt to hijack the Swine Flu story and portray it as a question of too many illegal immigrants coming into America spreading disease is so far off base as to be a laughable exaggeration.

The Chinese are fanatical about closing their borders and yet SARS became a huge problem for them. Disease doesn’t know about walls or barbed wire. Viruses don’t care if you have 100,000 soldiers guarding your border. If Swine Flu does become widespread, the overwhelming majority of people will catch it as a result of contact with an American citizen.

Even the beginnings of the spread of Swine Flu in the US cannot be traced to illegal immigrants. The kids in New York who contracted what appears to be a mild form of the disease got it in Mexico after a recent trip.  The Texas and California cases were also mild and still something of a mystery because none of the infected people were anywhere near pigs and hadn’t been to Mexico. As the CDC narrows its search to find “Patient Zero,” it is likely that individual would have recently been exposed to the bug  in Mexico.

But even if the original infection came from an illegal immigrant,  it is not reasonable to assume that if we had only closed the borders, we would have been any safer whatsoever. Millions of Mexicans have entered the US perfectly legally since the outbreak began and it a dead certainty that any serious spread of the disease would occur in this group rather than the tiny number of cases that could be attributed to illegals.

Adequate border protection will go a long way to preventing another terrorist attack. It will help relieve the burden on our schools, health clinics, and other social services from illegals who leech from the taxpayers after breaking the law to get here.

But to believe that closing the border to illegals  will have any effect on the spread or even containment of Swine Flu is refuted by the facts. It is estimated that anywhere between 500,000 and one million illegals pour across our border every year. Almost the same number - about 650,000 -  enter the US legally every day.

Let’s not bring unrelated issues into the discussion of Swine Flu.

UPDATE: HEY KIDS! LET’S BLAME AGRI-BUSINESS!

This is not only sillier than trying to drag illegal immigrants into the mix, it is dangerous rumor mongering as well:

Is Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork packer and hog producer, linked to the outbreak? Smithfield operates massive hog-raising operations Perote, Mexico, in the state of Vera Cruz, where the outbreak originated. The operations, grouped under a Smithfield subsidiary called Granjas Carrol, raise 950,000 hogs per year, according to the company Web site-a level nearly equal to Smithfield’s total U.S. hog production.

On Friday, the U.S. disease-tracking blog Biosurveillance published a timeline of the outbreak containing this nugget, dated April 6 (major tip of the hat to Paula Hay, who alerted me to the Smithfield link on the Comfood listserv and has written about it on her blog, Peak Oil Entrepreneur):

Residents [of Perote] believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to “flu.” However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms. It was unclear whether health officials had identified a suspected pathogen responsible for this outbreak.

From what I can tell, the possible link to Smithfield has not been reported in the U.S. press. Searches of Google News and the websites of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal all came up empty. The link is being made in the Mexican media, however. “Granjas Carroll, causa de epidemia en La Gloria,” declared a headline in the Vera Cruz-based paper La Marcha. No need to translate that, except to point out that La Gloria is the village where the outbreak seems to have started. Judging from the article, Mexican authorities treat hog CAFOs with just as much if not more indulgence than their peers north of the border, to the detriment of surrounding communities and the general public health.

To sum up, a couple of newspapers and a couple of blogs have tried to make the connection between the evil Smithfield and a Swine Flu outbreak  and that swarms of flies feeding on the apparently untreated fecal matter is the way the disease spreads - at least how it began to spread.

I guess we can call the WHO and tell them to stop the investigation, that we’ve found the cause and the culprit. Aside from being incredibly irresponsible, I would think that the scientists at WHO and the Mexican health agency IMSS might want to look into it before rumor mongering newspapers and ignorant bloggers start spreading false information.

No explanation forthcoming as to how the disease mutated from one that spread through fly bites to one that apparently spreads human to human (no one is sure yet how the bug spreads). Neither is there an explanation for how these flies were able to travel hundreds of miles to infect others. But that doesn’t stop irresponsible journalists and bloggers from just making sh*t up as they go along.

We’re going to see a lot of this.

By: Rick Moran at 3:27 pm
14 Responses to “IT’S SILLY TO BLAME A POROUS BORDER FOR SWINE FLU IN US”
  1. 1
    greg Said:
    5:58 pm 

    If we had a tight border would containing the flu be easier? I know that is probably a stupid question but it is one the “open borders-a human being isn’t illegal” needs to answer.
    Hopefully this thing can just be a scare. But, what if is isn’t? Worse, what if the Mexicans panic and flood the border looking to escape death, or receive better medical treatment and endanger us all?

  2. 2
    Watcher of Weasels » Weekend Weasel - Flu Emergency Not Important Enough to Interrupt Presidential Golf Outing Pinged With:
    5:59 pm 

    [...] Surprise, Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse disagrees, continuing his latest digression from reality. As is typical of the sell outs on the right that seem to be constantly apologizing for people like [...]

  3. 3
    funny man Said:
    6:45 pm 

    I can’t recall measles being stopped at the pretty tight border at then East Germany. First of all, we don’t even know how exactly this virus spreads; what makes it different from other strains.
    Regarding Obama, I can only say there are battles to fight and then there are those that do NOT have anything to do with politics. I agree this is total nonsense. It appears if you have some remainder of sanity left you are a sell out. News for those folks: Obama is not responsible for every earthquake, drought etc. Yes, yes, I remember some of the wingnuts accusing Bush of similar. I guess following that ‘logic’ makes it more credible.
    Put science first, stay calm and wait for now.

  4. 4
    michael reynolds Said:
    7:56 pm 

    Can we call this the “carnitas flu?” “Swine flu” is a lousy brand name.

  5. 5
    Glib Tunafish Said:
    11:37 pm 

    “I can’t recall measles being stopped at the pretty tight border at then East Germany. First of all, we don’t even know how exactly this virus spreads; what makes it different from other strains.”

    “But to believe that closing the border to illegals will have any effect on the spread or even containment of Swine Flu is refuted by the facts. It is estimated that anywhere between 500,000 and one million illegals pour across our border every year. Almost the same number - about 650,000 - enter the US legally every day”

    If it follows the typical pattern of other flu viruses it will be spread through airborne droplets and bodily secretions. That means that if people coming from an area where they are less likely to treat it effectively i.e Mexico come to another area i.e The U.S they will spread it among a greater number of the population than if we were to have secure borders and health checks. A secure border cannot stop all disease just as it cannot stop all drug trade. It is absurd however to suggest that effective measures at boarder policing have no role to play in preventing faster spread of the disease.

    Rick you cite the figures regarding illegal and legal entry into the U.S. Thats all fine and good when those entering are not infected. What happens when say 1 in 10 are infected? Do you expect the spread of disease to be greater or less in the U.S as every infected person becomes a potential risk for new infections? How many of those who come here illegally and are infected might be less likely to seek treatment because they fear being deported and thus are sick longer and are thus greater factors for spread of the disease?

    It makes you neither wise or compassionate to state that a secure border is no factor at all in stopping flu transmission. Viruses may not care about barbed wire or 100,000 soldiers but people do. And without people to carry them abroad it matters not a whit what a virus cares about.

  6. 6
    busboy33 Said:
    1:17 am 

    I’ve been busy, so my catching the news has been sporadic, and as a result I last saw this story at the “huh — this is interesting” level, and then 24 hours later we were apparently at “National we’re-all-going-to-die-horribly day” level. That’ll teach me to turn off the InterTubes.
    Simple question I just missed not following this closely: why is it “swine flu”? I mean, how is it connected to swine? Did it start as a livestock pathogen (like mad cow) that jumped the species divide into humans, or were the initial outbreaks tied to pig farmers? Feel free to flame for not knowing something that is probably in every news story about this, but I tried to get some info from MSM and had to give up after MSNBC practically had the Halloween movie theme music playing when I brought up the topic.

    p.s. — hope you feel good, Mr. M. All the news media were going to handle this in a totally non-sensationalistic manner until you planted the idea of formenting mass hysteria in their minds with your last post.
    Bad critical thinker! Very very bad! As web persona, you should have learned the first lesson of communication 2.0 — namely, never feed the trolls (or the brain dead zombies).

  7. 7
    bsjones Said:
    1:56 am 

    I hope this flu thing does not blow up into something huge like the y2k problem.

  8. 8
    CZ Said:
    11:27 am 

    I can remember in the 80’s when we were all going to be exposed to AIDS through blood transfusions and even mosquito bites. I’ve been bitten by many mosquitos and no AIDS yet. Fear mongering is only bad if Bush did it.

    Illegal Mexicans are illegal Mexicans. Close the borders and send them back now. They’re lawbreakers and we don’t need any other reason.

  9. 9
    c3 Said:
    1:23 pm 

    As a physician with an MPH I can say that immigration is not the issue in disease spread. As we have seen several times in the recent past American citizens have spread disease in the US after traveling to an epidemic area. I don’t need to be a citizen of a country to spread disease I just need to be a visitor. To “close the borders” to disease spread we would need to stop all tourism. Imagine the economic impact of that!

  10. 10
    jackson1234 Said:
    2:38 pm 

    As of now, you are right. However, if a quarantine were to be imposed and the damned-near criminal neglect of our border continued, there is no question you would be wrong at that point. And don’t think for a second the open borders fanatics would see no problem with both a quarantine and unimpeded illegal immigration.

  11. 11
    Mike Farmer Said:
    6:37 pm 

    The point is that with a secure border you can prevent diseased people from entering the country. It has nothing to do with causes and everything to do with containment.

  12. 12
    Sicamor Said:
    11:45 am 

    But do you know was Carroll is responsible of the swine flu?, just for corruption. They have not presented the documents necessary to prove they are managing the waste in a responsible way.

    Why do you blame the immigrants to cross the borders?. You might ask to your governors do not corrupt the latinamerican politicians. Washington is the origin of the economical problems there. Nobody want to leave their country just “looking the american dream”, that is really the nortamerican nightmare. So reciporcally latinamericans should refuse to cross the northamericans to cross their borders if thgey want to travek to Cancun or those beautiful places that belongs to foreigners, thanks to the corruption.

    But you have not answered the question, why the flu begun in Texas and CA?

  13. 13
    glorybug Said:
    5:12 pm 

    It is rather silly to dish about border infiltration right now, since there’s no proof ANY illegals are trying to enter to avoid the flu. Not to mention that all of the non-Mexican cases began from non-illegal non-Mexicans who brought the virus back to the US after vacationing in Mexico. Instead of the US trying to cement our borders AGAINST people from Mexico, it would be wiser to prohibit Americans from vacationing in Mexico.

    Stopping Americans from travelling to Mexico and back would be more intelligent than trying to close the borders against non-existent Mexicans who aren’t trying to flee to the US to escape this flu.

    If you’re interested, please read- http://www.opednews.com/articles/Pandemic-or-Pig-Farm-Fiasc-by-Colleen-De-Koning-090428-311.html#comment211457

    “Neither is there an explanation for how these flies were able to travel hundreds of miles to infect others.”

    La Gloria is less than 5 miles from the Granja Carroll farm, and the local officials must have taken the fly infestation seriously enough to have responded to reports of 4-500 people being sickened with respiratory illness to vaccinate all the pigs, all the people of La Gloria, fumigate the farms and the people’s homes, and spray to get rid of the government acknowleged black fly problem at the farm and in the homes— before this was called a pandemic… there are also many huge poultry mega-farms in the area as well, at least one of which suffered a huge avian flu problem recently. The flies did not need to travel hundreds of miles. It’s a hop, skip and a jump in La Gloria to get from a pig farm to a poultry farm to human residences. And that’s not taking into account how many of the locals actually work at either the pig or poultry farm. There isn’t much other industry in the area.

    Hate illegal aliens all you want… but be intelligent enough to realize when a news story doesn’t fit in with that hatred.

    Handing out harsh legal repercussions for people/businesses who hire illegals for pennies on the dollar would do more towards eliminating illegal aliens than any other action. They come here for jobs, that dishonest greedy businesspeople provide for them here. If those jobs dried up, they would have no incentive to come here. I, for one, would be willing to pay a higher price for my produce in order to see that happen. Would you?

    c

  14. 14
    Political Blog Weekly: 1 May 2009 | U.S. Common Sense Pinged With:
    7:41 pm 

    [...] "It’s Silly to Blame a Porous Border for Swine Flu in US" Originally published:  26 April 2009 Submitted by:  U.S. Common Sense Summary:  Examining the effects of an open market on the spread of disease in the world. [...]

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