Since the unprecedented outbreak of the rare respiratory infection Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, there has been very little understanding of what may have caused the spread of a virus that has affected over 1000 children in several states around the U.S.

 

Now, the latest development in the story suggests a possible link between the virus and immigration.

 

Given an influx of more than 37,000 illegal-immigrant children who have entered the U.S. without proper health screening – some sources are speculating that the immigration may be correlated to the outbreak.

 

WorldNetDaily (www.wnd.com)

WorldNetDaily (www.wnd.com)

 

However, with the release of a state-by-state breakdown with data on incoming immigrants versus data on reported EV-D68 cases, it is now clear that there is no correlation between the outbreak and immigration trends.

 

A visual representation of this relationship released by an independent news source, WorldNetDaily, (shown here) suggests that states like California, Florida, New York, and Virginia, that took in most of the illegal immigrant children, are not among the jurisdictions with the most severe outbreaks.

 

This information naturally makes many wonder whether there was ever a link between the epidemic and the major rise in immigration, despite the timing of the two events.

 

Another factor to consider is that this is not the first time the nation has experienced an EV-D68 outbreak; it’s just the first time we are seeing it hit the population with this magnitude. The virus itself first made an appearance in the U.S. back in the 1960s, but since then there have been fewer than 100 reported cases.

 

This means that in the past few weeks alone we have seen over 10 times the number of cases recorded in the last 50 years altogether; this absolute difference in incidence rates might have also fueled speculation about immigration trends and its impact on the nature of the outbreak this time around.

 

However, CNN reports that the relatively low number of cases prior to the current outbreak could have something to do with the fact that we do not have too much knowledge about the virus and that this may have led to cases going unreported or misdiagnosed in the past.

 

So while there certainly has never been a spread quite as drastic as the one we are seeing now, the actual presence of the virus is not really something new.  The problem here is that the number of variables and unknowns regarding EV-D68 and this particular outbreak are simply too much to predict any one cause of the virus’s spread accurately.

 

Moreover, when we are correlating the spread of the virus to immigration, we put forth non-evidential notions about an issue that might have a litany of other contributing factors, some of which are politically loaded and may be reason for a governmental agenda against immigration.

 

Whether this is actually the case or not, it’s important to note that linking immigration to EV-D68 requires well-supported and clear evidence before it can be considered seriously.  At the moment it’s just not there yet.

 

As more information surfaces about the epidemic, the most important thing to do, besides containing the virus and treating those infected, is to continue learning as much as we can about EV-D68 and exploring all of the potential factors that mitigate its spread, now and in the future.

 

How do you feel about the idea of a connection between the EV-D68 virus and the increase in immigration? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @tamarahoumi