What we’re reading: Harm in immigrant detention facilities and what needs to happen when children die in U.S. custody

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A natural death: The political battlefield of infections and migrant children’s bodies – Tracing the events surrounding the death of eight-year-old Felipe Alonso Gomez in U.S. custody, Dr. Mark Travassos makes a compelling case for advocacy and action to expose and end harrowing violations of health and human rights in immigrant detention facilities. From the autopsy report showing the ravages of the influenza that killed the child, that a test proved he contracted within the walls of the immigration center where he was being held, to the conditions in which a series of children have since died, Dr. Travassos makes it impossible to say we didn’t know that U.S. policy is putting men, women and children seeking refuge in harms way.

We need to address the health of children at the border – This accompanying commentary by Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society President Dr. Kristina Bryant, co-chair Dr. Betsy Herold describes the devastating consequences of separating children from their families, and keeping them in conditions so lacking the basic necessities for health and hygiene that they have fueled outbreaks of measles, mumps, chickenpox, and influenza, that have threatened the health of surrounding communities, as well as staff and those detained in the facilities.

Prioritize Individual and Public Health at the Border – For more than a year, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and its HIV Medicine Association (which produce this blog) along with the the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America have called on Congress and the administration to investigate and address the conditions under which large numbers of people are being detained at our borders, the rationale and consequences of ignoring standing medical guidelines, separating children from their families, and withholding medical immunizations as well as other critical and routine health services.

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