Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly said that if and when the Ebola virus escapes its containment in West Africa, infected people may flee those countries and spread the disease to Central and South America.
Last week, Kelly said that if such a migration occurs, it could cause "mass migration into the United States" of those seeking treatment, CNS News reported Monday.
"If it breaks out, it’s literally, ‘Katie bar the door,’ and there will be mass migration into the United States," Kelly said in remarks to the National Defense University on Tuesday. "They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.
"The potential spread of Ebola into Central and Southern America is a real possibility," the article written about the general’s speech and posted on the Department of Defense website on Wednesday stated.
Kelly also said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1.4 million people could be infected with Ebola by the end of the year, with 62 percent of those dying from the disease.
"It will cause panic, and people will flee the region," Kelly said. With the criminal networks that already exist in Central and South America, Kelly said there could be transnational groups smuggling in people infected with Ebola, making countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador especially susceptible to an outbreak.