- The influx of over a million refugees with already-weakened immune systems into Europe has turned migrant camps into a cesspool of disease, and according to medical experts, that cesspool could engulf Europe in a wave of deadly germs.
Migrants who have managed to travel to Europe are prime disease vectors, as they are usually dehydrated, exhausted, have weakened immune systems and are packed together in small quarters.
This environment is perfect for the spread of disease, Medical Xpress reports.
Once-forgotten diseases like scabies, measles and tuberculosis are starting to make a serious comeback, said researchers at a medical conference in Amsterdam.
Europe has seen the addition of 180,000 migrants so far in 2016.
“Maybe there is a problem in the future,” Turkish infectious disease expert Hakan Leblebicioglu told the audience.
“Regarding tuberculosis… polio and measles, these should be considered an emerging threat especially for the refugees, the region, and maybe Europe,” he added.
In the same way European countries lack intelligence sharing capabilities to track terror threats, these same countries have wildly inconsistent standards for screening infectious diseases. Not only are the standards inconsistent, but screening only occurs randomly.
Measles has made an appearance in France. Scabies has shown up in camps in the Netherlands.
Salmonella is now present in German camps. Migrants also have a much higher rate of HIV than the native population.
Diphtheria, a disease absent from Denmark for 18 years, was brought back into the country by two migrants from Libya. Denmark does not screen refugees for diseases.
European health care systems are already overburdened with existing case loads, not to mention the prospect of a pan-European outbreak of disease.
But according to infectious disease experts who spoke at the conference, Europe’s saving grace right now is that the migrants have been marginalized and not integrated into the wider community.
“The fact itself that they are marginalised and they do not integrate into the community in Europe is the cause of their disease, and protects the European community from being infected,” Italian public health expert Alberto Matteelli said.
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