A young illegal immigrant child from Central America was diagnosed with swine flu Friday after crossing the Texas-Mexico border, necessitating 2,000 vaccines be shipped to Lackland Air Force Base to treat people who may have been exposed, U.S. authorities confirmed to TheBlaze.
Health and Human Services Department spokesman Kenneth Wolfe told TheBlaze that the child was hospitalized after being diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, which he called an "isolated case."
"The child is responding to treatment and is being monitored," Wolfe said Wednesday. "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 minor] facilities."
The child was diagnosed after being transported from a border holding facility to the base, where he showed signs of illness and had to be hospitalized. It's the first known case of the H1N1 virus to be diagnosed among the recent surge of unaccompanied immigrant children to arrive at the base, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said.
Boys await medical appointments in a holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on, June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Ariz. (AP/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)
"We are told the sick child was feverish for several days before being sent for medical treatment," Gohmert said. “Having spent the weekend on our border, I can tell you that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not taking charge of the undocumented children in any kind of reasonable time frame as they are absolutely required to do."
The H1N1 diagnosis coincides with federal law enforcement and health officials along the border raising concerns that immigrants crossing into the United States are not being properly screened before being transported to other holding facilities throughout the country.
The child was described as being extremely ill before recovering in the hospital and had made contact with a number of people for several days during the contagious stages of the virus, according to sources with knowledge of the case.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The H1N1 virus caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009 and is experiencing an uptick in the U.S. this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
[sharequote align="center"]"We are told the sick child was feverish for several days before being sent for medical treatment."[/sharequote]
A representative from the Centers for Disease Control did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze about the H1N1 case. The CDC last week deferred all health questions regarding the recent illegal immigrant surge to HHS.
Wolfe told TheBlaze last week that all unaccompanied immigrant children are medically screened after they are transferred from Border Patrol custody.
This post has been updated with comments from the Department of Health and Human Services
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