Trump-aligned extremists are busily spreading disinformation online this week about ‘Immigrants Are Bringing Ebola To The US.’ Officials say the conspiracy amplified by Alex Jones of Infowars, Gateway Pundit, and other right-wingers is “Patently False.”
“Baseless rumors that asylum-seekers crossing the southern border were infected with the Ebola virus gained so much traction on social media this week that officials in Texas held a press conference Tuesday to dispel the fake reports,” writes BuzzFeed News Reporter Salvador Hernandez:
Rumors about people from Congo infected with the potentially deadly virus had been circulating on social media for days from prominent conservative, alt-right, and white supremacist figures. On Tuesday, officials from the city of San Antonio addressed the misinformation after unsubstantiated reports were published on the conspiracy theory websites Infowars and Gateway Pundit, suggesting Ebola-infected immigrants were roaming the city’s streets.
“This is a little bit much ado about nothing,” said Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager and director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. “Any rumors that they are bringing Ebola or are at risk of Ebola are patently false.”
About 250 family units seeking asylum from Central Africa have crossed the border near San Antonio since June 4, Bridger said, including migrants from Congo and Angola. None of them have exhibited any signs of the virus or been flagged for the virus during their health screenings, she said.
The rumor quickly spread Monday after the Alex Jones-owned outlet claimed in a headline, “U.S. Cities Overwhelmed With Numbers of Illegal Migrants Arriving From Ebola-Stricken Countries.”
An Infowars reporter also went to a temporary immigrant shelter at the San Antonio Resource Center to follow up on rumors about the virus. The Infowars reporter turned on their camera inside the shelter, against a request of those running the center, and was removed after getting into a “kerfuffle,” Bridger said.