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An undocumented child from Central America being housed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.
Television network The Blaze first reported that the child was diagnosed June 20 after feeling feverish for several days. About 2,000 vaccines were shipped to Lackland to treat those who may have been exposed, the network reported.
The child is among unaccompanied minors who were caught illegally crossing into the United States and are being housed at a former Basic Military Training facility at Lackland under an agreement with the Health and Human Services Department.
“The child is responding to treatment and is being monitored,” HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe told Air Force Times. “While this is an isolated case, we are continuing proactive measures to protect public health and closely monitoring all the children at Lackland and other [Unaccompanied Alien Children] facilities.”
The Lackland facility was transformed last month to accommodate the children. Lackland is only responsible for providing shelter, spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Lt. Col Thomas Crosson told Air Force Times June 13. The facility can house up to 1,200 children at one time.
Lackland spokesman Oscar Balladares said that airmen have not had any contact with children at the facility.
“The health and safety of the general public are our top priorities,” Wolfe said. “When children come into the HHS program, they are given a well-child exam and all necessary childhood vaccinations to protect against communicable diseases.”
The Defense Department is also housing children at Naval Base Ventura County, California, and at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The capacity for all three shelters is nearly 3,000 beds, but the number of children coming and going fluctuates daily, according to HHS’s Administration for Children and Families website. Most of children crossing the border illegally have fled from violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
HHS is also considering temporarily housing as many as 600 undocumented children at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The children would be housed at an old summer camp facility at the base, a congressional staffer said. HHS has hired a contractor to provide meals and other services for the children. No base personnel would be involved in the children’s care.