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Report: Immigrants quarantined in over 30 ICE centers for mumps

In this image, a line of migrants walk outside near a tall chain link fence.
Immigrants, mostly from Central America, travel toward an immigration processing center in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Immigrants have been quarantined in over 30 ICE detention centers across the U.S. for mumps and a few cases of chickenpox in recent months, according to a Quartz investigation into information shared by attorneys.

Why it matters: Mumps is from a fast-spreading but relatively mild virus that sometimes causes serious complications. But the people who are quarantined also are not allowed access to their attorneys and cannot attend bond or asylum proceedings, Quartz points out.

By the numbers: Quartz found nearly 300 confirmed cases of mumps in ICE facilities and other immigration detention centers across the country — with the most cases concentrated in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and Georgia.

Yes, but: Not all state or county health departments monitor disease outbreaks in ICE facilities. Louisiana and California "said they had no data on disease in ICE facilities," Quartz reports — so the case numbers could be higher.

Where it stands: "Local health authorities tasked with keeping civilian populations in their areas safe said they have no idea how widespread the mumps epidemic is in immigration facilities around the US," Quartz reports.

Of note: The recommended 2 doses of MMR vaccine is roughly 88% effective at preventing mumps, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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