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Scott Brown suggests that Ebola could come across the southern border

Scott Brown works the phone banks at the NHGOP Salem Headquarters September 17, 2014 in Salem, New Hampshire.

Darren McCollester, Getty Images

New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown (R) became the latest Republican to claim that a "porous" southern border could lead to Ebola-stricken immigrants or terrorists bringing disease into the United States.

In an interview with New Hampshire radio station WGIR, Brown was asked why there aren't travel restrictions for passengers coming from West Africa, where the virus has affected thousands of people.

"We need a comprehensive approach and I think that should be part of it," Brown said. "I think it's all connected. For example, we have people coming into our country by legal means bringing in diseases and other potential challenges. Yet we have a border that's so porous that anyone can walk across it. I think it's naive to think that people aren't going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border."

Brown argued this was a reason voters should support him, saying, "I voted to secure [the border]. Senator Shaheen has not."

Yet experts have said that it is highly unlikely Ebola will come across our border. For one, there has never been an outbreak in Central America, where most immigrants originate when they illegally cross the border. And it's also far too unreliable and impractical for use as a biological weapon.

"Ebola would be a very poor biological weapon," Lawrence Gostin, the director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told CBS News earlier this month. The number one reason, he said, is that it's not aerosolized, or spread by air.

"Unless it could be somehow genetically altered so that you could make it into an aerosol that was airborne, which would be unlikely at this stage, it would be a very poor biological weapon," he said, given that Ebola victims are "not infectious until they're very sick, and ... when they're very sick they're likely to die."

A sick person "couldn't possibly make that journey" across the U.S.-Mexico border, Gostin said.

"If I were a bioterrorist, that would not be my choice," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said on "Fox News Sunday" earlier in October. "It would be inefficient. Nature does it much worse than a bioterrorist."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.