Anne Schuchat, the director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has strenuously denied that there is any evidence supporting claims of a connection between the United States' recent measles outbreak and undocumented immigration, the Guardian reports.

Speaking in an online forum hosted by the National Press Foundation, Schuchat said, "I know that immigration is a complicated issue and people have strong feelings about it."

Earlier this month, Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama said, "I don't think there is any health care professional who has examined the facts who could honestly say that Americans have not died because the disease is brought into America by illegal aliens who are not properly health care screened, as lawful immigrants are."

"Unfortunately, our kids just aren't prepared for a lot of the diseases that come in and are borne by illegal aliens," Brooks claimed.

However, the Guardian reports, according to World Health Organization estimates, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador all have greater rates of measles coverage than the United States.

Schuchat explicitly denied any evidence supporting a connection between undocumented immigrants from these countries and the outbreak in the United States. "In fact, this outbreak associated with the Disney park, the U.S. exported measles virus to Mexico, so we see the virus unfortunately going the other direction," she said. "It's really important for people in every region to have access to vaccines."

Later, Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, asked Schuchat if some immigrants might have "fallen through the cracks," the Guardian reports. Schuchat observed that the outbreak is not spreading along the United States' border with Mexico, however, but in "some of the wealthier communities in California."

Correction, 8:25 p.m. – An earlier version of this post misidentified Schuchat as the director of the CDC. Rather, she is the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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