8-Year-Old Migrant Girl Treated for Flu-Like Symptoms Before Death in US Federal Custody, Officials Say

Medical tests being conducted at an immigration holding facility.
Medical tests being conducted at an immigration holding facility.Getty

Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, the 8-year-old born in Panama, was seen in surveillance footage being carried by her mom while having what appeared to be a seizure, officials said.

An 8-year-old migrant girl tested positive for Influenza A and had a 101.8-degree fever just days before she died in federal U.S. custody Wednesday, authorities said. 

Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, who was traveling with her parents and 13- and 14-year-old brothers, complained to medical staff about flu-like symptoms, like abdominal pain, congestion and cough, and was being treated with Tamiflu, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and Zofran in the days leading up to her death at a medical unit in Harlingen, Texas, according to a Customs and Border Protection statement.

Anadith, who died just eight days after being taken into federal custody with her family, is the first known migrant child to have died in Border Patrol custody since former President Trump was in office, when several minors died, according to CBS News.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of an eight-year-old girl who was in CBP custody with her parents earlier this week,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in an earlier statement. “The health and safety of individuals in our custody, our workforce, and communities we serve is paramount. To that end, we must ensure that medically fragile individuals receive the best possible care and spend the minimum amount of time possible in CBP custody.”

Anadith and her family did not mention any symptoms of illness when they were initially medically screened, according to the statement. But her mom did hand papers to the medical provider upon intake, and the family told CBP medical officials that Anadith had a medical history, including heart disease and sickle cell anemia, though she had been feeling fine upon intake, according to the statement. She also had a heart surgery when she was 5 years old, records stated.

Days later, Anadith and her mom were brought to the medical unit, where Anadith was tested and treated for flu-like symptoms. The family was then moved to a medical treatment facility, according to authorities.

On the day Anadith died, records showed she visited the doctor three times for vomiting and a stomach ache, before being given medical attention a third time for what appeared to be a seizure, authorities said.

Anadith died at the hospital shortly after, authorities said.

Anadith was a citizen of Panama and her family are Honduran citizens, authorities said. They had been travelling in a group of 47 when they were brought into custody, according to a statement.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. An initial autopsy revealed pleural effusions within the chest cavity, and an official cause of death is expected to be released pending further examination.

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