EL PASO — Children are crossing the Texas border alone, only to end up in detention centers. It's a problem News 8 has been focusing on.
Now we're learing of a new risk to those children and their caretakers — and possibly to communities once they are released.
The concern arises out of the cramped conditions inside those detention centers.
"When you have people in close quarters, there are some respiratory viruses that are very easily passed to one person to another," explained El Paso pediatrician Dr. Hector Ocaranza.
He is not speaking specifically about children from Central America spending time in U.S. detention centers, but Ocaranza knows the risks when it comes to kids and contagious diseases and other conditions.
"Some infestations can happen," he said.
Both lice and scabies — a skin condition caused by a mite — are among the problems. Some Border Ppatrol agents who came in contact with the kids had to be treated for scabies.
Fortunately, the influx of children from Central America comes at a time when students in Texas are on summer vacation. That will give health authorities the chance to deal with any potential problems, and ensure the immigrant children are vaccinated.
That’s in case they are still here this fall when school starts. Many of the their home countries have aggressive vaccination programs, but these children did not cross the border carrying immunization records.
Immigration authorities say if they identify children who are sick or have health problems, they are separated from the other kids and given medical attention.