Fox News hosts and contributors have worked hard the past couple of weeks to sow as much fear and misinformation as possible about the caravan of Central American migrants traveling toward the southern U.S. border — even claiming those migrants could bring smallpox into the country.
According to The Daily Beast, former immigration agent David Ward listed the disease along with leprosy and tuberculosis, despite the fact that smallpox was deemed eradicated in 1980.
> “We have these individuals coming in from all over the world that have some of the most extreme medical care in the world,” Ward said. “And they're coming in with diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB [tuberculosis] that are going to infect our people in the United States.”
> It's next to impossible for the migrants to have smallpox, the last known case of which was seen in Somalia in 1977. The uncurable disease, characterized by painful pustules that erupt on skin and internal organs, was declared eradicated in 1980 after an aggressive worldwide vaccination campaign. The only remains of it (as far as public health officials are aware) are in Russia and an undisclosed U.S. lab controlled by the Centers for Disease Control.
As The Daily Beast noted, it is virtually impossible that migrants would transport smallpox across the border without the help of state-sponsored terrorism.