Published December 01, 2008
A Mexican citizen with a potentially deadly form of tuberculosis was allowed to cross the border into El Paso, Texas at least 20 times last year due to poor communication between government agencies, the El Paso Times reported.
According to a report from the U.S. General Accountability Office, Customs and Border Protection officials at the Bridge of Americas waited 14 days to notify Department of Homeland Security senior officials that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested the CBP's assistance in the 2007 TB case.
The delay allowed the Mexican citizen, who was under treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, to continue traveling from Juárez, Mexico to El Paso for business. The man also failed to surrender his travel visa even though his doctor had requested it, the newspaper reported.
The man has since completed treatment for TB and is no longer considered a threat.
Dr. Miguel Escobedo, medical officer for the CDC Quarantine Station in El Paso, said new procedures have been put in place since the incident for all local and federal agencies involved in monitoring international tuberculosis patients.