Band-Aids and blood. That’s the talk after photos emerged from Donald Trump’s quick trip to the border town of McAllen, TX a few days ago. It wasn’t the artful display of guns and drugs and cash or the bland faces of Border Patrol agents that caught attention. No, it was that bloodied bandage stuck to his right hand.
What’s that about? Secret transfusions? IVs of Adderol, B-12, Botox? Is Trump’s health an issue? Should we be concerned? But that question was allayed when a similar bandage was spotted on the left hand of FOX News host and Trump phone pal Sean Hannity. Nothing to see here – just two white guys who were hooked up to an IV prior to landing in southern Texas. Did Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who accompanied Trump, get their needle sticks? And why would a trip from Washington D.C. to the Rio Grande warrant inoculation? This is America, right? No epidemics here.
Seriously though, health conditions along the Rio Grande are not great. It’s the rain, the flooding and the mosquitos. According to a Southwest FarmPress report, McAllen is one of a cluster of Texas cities susceptible to mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile viruses. The area experienced an explosion of mosquito population growth following the summer flooding, prompting warnings like these:
“Diseases like Zika and West Nile remain threats in Texas and we need everyone to do their part to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” said DSHA Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. “These are simple steps, and if people take them consistently, they will go a long way toward reducing the number of cases of either disease transmitted in Texas.”
“We can’t spray our way out of this,” warned Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Administrator Eduardo Olivares.
But the West Nile and Zika viruses aren’t the only health concerns in southern Texas. Trump and his fellow travelers also had to worry about a host of medieval-sounding infections on his little jaunt to the Rio Grande.
The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta warns other known diseases in Texas that can be spread by airborne vector include Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Virus, encephalitis, malaria, and yellow fever, all of which can be carried by mosquitoes under the right conditions.
No wonder Trump wanted to back out of his border town photo op. Cadet Bone Spurs is danger averse!
So those Band-Aids make sense. But from here on out, when we hear those scary pronouncements about disease coming across the border, stop and self correct. The disease is already here and mosquitos are the culprit.