Five Afghans Flown to US Diagnosed With Measles

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Five people who were recently evacuated to the United States from Afghanistan were confirmed to have measles, Virginia health officials said Tuesday.

“All recently entered the United States as part of Operation Allies Welcome, the U.S. federal government’s emergency evacuation of citizens of Afghanistan,” a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health told The Epoch Times via email.

Health officials are reaching out to people who may have been exposed to the five individuals. At least one was at a hospital in the Richmond area on Sept. 10. And some or all were at Fort Pickett, a U.S. military base, in Nottoway County at some point.

The U.S. military has flown tens of thousands of Afghans to the United States since mid-August. They’ve been placed at bases across the United States until they’re resettled into local communities.

Evacuees have first been taken to military bases in third countries like Germany before being moved on after being vetted.

The evacuation effort is ongoing even after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan, but was temporarily paused at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because several Afghans were diagnosed with measles after arriving in the United States, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

The temporary pause was extended for at least seven additional days from Monday, according to the Pentagon.

John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters that one case was diagnosed at Fort McCoy, one case was found at Fort Pickett, and three were found among Afghans who flew into Dulles Airport in Virginia.

“They have been housed separately and are receiving medical care, and the CDC is doing contact tracing, and we’ll [ask] people to self-isolate as needed,” Kirby said, adding that the cases are being taken seriously.

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment. The agency describes measles as a highly contagious disease that can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.

By Zachary Stieber

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