By Jack Phillips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Afghans being brought into the United States are carrying viruses including malaria, measles, and tuberculosis, as well as COVID-19.
The health agency said that the Afghans will have to receive vaccines for measles and undergo quarantining. Since last month, the Biden administration has brought in thousands of Afghan nationals after their government collapsed amid a Taliban takeover.
As of Monday, the agency “has been notified by public health departments of 16 measles cases among the evacuees. All patients confirmed to have measles have been isolated and provided care,” said the CDC, “and their contacts have been quarantined. Contacts who were not immune were given the MMR vaccine or, if not vaccine-eligible, immunoglobulin.” MMR refers to the measles, mumps, and rubella shot.
“Evacuees who are in the United States are required to be vaccinated with MMR and complete a 21-day quarantine from the time of vaccination at U.S. ‘Safe Haven’ designated locations, such as military bases,” the CDC wrote.
Other than measles, tuberculosis, and malaria, the CDC said that there are concerns about evacuees having an increased likelihood of “shigellosis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, hepatitis A, rotavirus, and viral diarrheal diseases.”
The CDC, according to the release, is “also aware of some cases of varicella, mumps, tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, hepatitis A, and COVID-19 among evacuees. Although COVID incidence in this population has been notably low, COVID immunization and testing is being provided for all evacuees.”
The military bases where the Afghans are being housed include Fort Pickett in Virginia, Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, Fort Lee in Virginia, Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Dix in New Jersey, and Camp Atterbury in Indiana.
Starting last month, the U.S. military led a chaotic and rushed evacuation as the Taliban took over the country following the U.S. forces’ pullout. While a few thousand Americans are believed to have been evacuated, far more Afghans were flown out of the country on military flights.
On Tuesday, the Taliban started naming more officials to the country’s interim government.
Main Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir will be deputy defense minister, while Sadr Ibrahim was named deputy minister for the interior. Both men had been expected to take major positions in the new government but neither was named in the main list of ministers announced this month.
Reuters contributed to this report.