Conservative media hosts, including Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck, have placed the blame for the spread of swine flu to the United States squarely on the shoulders of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Some even suggested yesterday that Mexicans were purposefully carrying the virus across the border to sabotage the United States.
There's no basis for either claim -- in fact, news reports and health officials suggest that Americans traveling to Mexico likely carried the disease home. For example, several students at the infected school in New York had recently come back from a spring break trip to Cancun.
Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, M.D., the interim deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's science and public health program, suggested that Americans who visited Mexico recently brought the disease back with them: "I know that we have confirmation of disease in people who have traveled to Mexico, and I don't know the numbers, but I know that that is definitely the case in some of our cases, and that's an important factor to consider." Media reports indicate that U.S. swine flu victims had recently traveled to Mexico.
Media Matters documents:
On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that stricter border control was not necessary at this time. That would be a very, very heavy cost for what epidemiologists tells us would be marginal" in terms of containing the virus, she said on NBC's "Today" show.
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