US Officials Confirm 6 Measles Cases Among Afghan Refugees In Virginia, Wisconsin

by Kaylee Greenlee

Six Afghan refugees in Virginia and Wisconsin have tested positive for the measles, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The cases were reported among Afghan refugees who were evacuated to the U.S. after the Taliban took over Kabul, according to the AP. The cases were reported four days after flights bringing Afghans to the U.S. were suspended because some of the refugees had measles, the AP reported.

One of the cases was reported at Wisconsin army base Fort McCoy on Sept. 5, according to the AP. Some 8,000 refugees are temporarily staying at the facility, though only one arrival displayed symptoms of the virus, task force spokesperson Cheryl Phillips told the AP.

Other refugees who were exposed to the individual were quarantined and vaccinated for the measles, Phillips said, according to the AP.

Three Afghan refugees were diagnosed with measles in northern Virginia, the AP reported. The Virginia Department of Health was reportedly in contact with individuals who were potentially exposed to the refugees at Dulles International Airport and two hospitals.

“The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has identified five individuals diagnosed with measles and is reaching out to people in the Central Health Region and the Northern Health Region who may have been exposed to those individuals,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. “The people confirmed to have measles recently traveled from Afghanistan as part of the United States government’s emergency evacuation efforts.”

VDH officials also notified authorities at Fort Pickett, a National Guard base temporarily hosting Afghan refugees, about potential exposures, according to the agency.

Afghan refugees have to get the measles vaccine to enter the U.S. and officials are considering measures to inoculate them overseas, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.


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