Paul LePage (Credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (AP)

Maine's Tea Party governor claims immigrants are bringing in "foreign types of diseases" like the "ziki fly"

There's actually no such thing as the "ziki fly," but that's not about to stop Paul LePage from railing against it


Scott Eric Kaufman
February 18, 2016 9:25PM (UTC)

In his weekly town hall meeting, Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage was at it yet again, this time complaining about immigrants seeking asylum bringing "foreign types of diseases" to the United States.

"Asylum seekers — I think the biggest problem in our state — and I’ll explain that to you," he said. "What happens is you get hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, HIV, the ‘ziki fly,’ all these other foreign type of diseases that find a way to our land."

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There is, of course, no such thing as a "ziki fly." LePage was likely referring to the latest innovation in Fox News fear-mongering, the mosquito-bourne Zika virus, which has been linked to microencephaly in infants. The virus is currently largely contained to Latin America and Brazil, but there have been no cases reported in Maine.

However, the idea that a disease originating in South and Latin America is making its way, via immigration, into the United States is a powerful one during this election seasons because of the campaign rhetoric emanating from the GOP candidates.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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