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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde December 4, 2018

Misleading headline claims thousands of caravan migrants have HIV, tuberculosis, other diseases

A misleading headline about caravan migrants claims thousands of them have tuberculosis, HIV and other diseases.

"2,267 caravan invaders have Tuberculosis, HIV, Chickenpox and other health issues," said the headline of a Nov. 29 post on Puppet String News. The site says its creator "decided to get into alternative news to tell the truth to best of ability."

This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The headline distorts the truth to give the impression that more than 2,000 migrants are carrying the serious diseases. Yes, there are caravan migrants in Mexico with health issues and diseases. But the number reported to have a condition such as HIV or chickenpox is not in the thousands.

The Puppet String News story links to a Fox News story that says that 2,267 of 6,000 migrants in Tijuana, a Mexican city bordering the United States, are being treated for health-related issues.

The Fox News report attributes its information to health officials in Tijuana saying there were "three confirmed cases of tuberculosis, four cases of HIV/AIDS and four separate cases of chickenpox." The story pointed out other health concerns at the sports complex where migrants were taking shelter, including a "threat of hepatitis outbreak due to unsanitary conditions." Lice and skin infections were also a problem, the report said.

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Officials for the Mexican state of Baja California told PolitiFact on Dec. 3 that the state government was providing medical attention to caravan members in shelters within its cities, Tijuana and Mexicali. State officials said there were no registered cases for tuberculosis, that seven migrants in Tijuana had chickenpox, and that there were four with HIV (two in Tijuana, two in Mexicali).

The state’s health office posted on its Facebook page on Dec. 1 that it was clarifying that there were no detected cases of tuberculosis. On Nov. 27, it posted an update that said 2,267 in Tijuana and 1,377 in Mexicali had been attended by medical staff, mainly for acute respiratory infections.

"Now the threat of the caravan invasion sponsored by Soros is now a major health risk to the United States, as it's being reported that 2,267 caravan invaders in Tijuana have very serious health issues," the Puppet String News post said.

There’s no evidence that liberal philanthropist George Soros is sponsoring or funding the caravan. Puppet String News has also falsely claimed that the Vatican is funding the migrant caravans.

"Besides just the obvious security threats to America involved in this caravan being gang members, terrorists, traffickers, and the majority of the caravan being military aged men ... These migrants are carrying very serious diseases and illnesses with them," the post said. (Here are the facts on who’s part of the migrant caravan.)

Puppet String News did not respond to a request for comment. Its headline claiming "2,267 caravan invaders have tuberculosis, HIV, chickenpox and other health issues" is misleading.

The headline contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

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PolitiFact rating logo PolitiFact Rating:
Mostly False
Says "2,267 caravan invaders have tuberculosis, HIV, chickenpox and other health issues"
in a blog post
Thursday, November 29, 2018

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Misleading headline claims thousands of caravan migrants have HIV, tuberculosis, other diseases

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