Diphtheria Cases Are Returning to the UK at an Alarming Rate Following the Death of a Migrant in Asylum Center – Other Migrants with Suspected Cases Are Being Transferred to Hotels Across the UK
The number of diphtheria cases in the UK has increased at an alarming rate following the death of a migrant at the Manston asylum processing center in Kent who had contracted the infection.
A Middle Eastern man, believed to be in his 30s, died in hospital on Saturday, November 19, seven days after arriving in the UK on a small boat.
The cause of death has not been officially determined by a coroner, although diphtheria is being considered as a possible contributing factor in his passing.
According to CDC, diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxin. It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart rhythm problems, and even death.
Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing. People can also get sick from touching infected open sores or ulcers. CDC recommends vaccines for infants, children, teens, and adults to prevent infection.
“Our thoughts remain with the family of the man who has died and all those affected by this loss,” a government spokesperson said.
“Initial test results processed by a local hospital for an infectious disease were negative, but a follow-up PCR test was positive, indicating that diphtheria may be the cause of the illness. The coroner will conclude in due course.”
“We take the safety and welfare of those in our care extremely seriously and are taking all of the necessary steps following these results.
“We are offering diphtheria vaccinations to people at Manston, which has 24/7 health facilities and trained medical staff.”
Manston processing center accommodated more than 4,000 migrants despite having a capacity of only 1,600. The overpopulation led to outbreaks of communicable diseases like scabies, Covid, and diphtheria, among others.
The Times reported:
Dozens of migrants with suspected diphtheria have been moved from the Manston processing centre in Kent to hotels around the country.
There are now more than 70 suspected cases of diphtheria among those who in recent weeks have been moved from the facility. In 2020, there was just one confirmed case in Britain.
The Home Office yesterday confirmed that a man who died after being held for almost a week at Manston, potentially unlawfully, had contracted diphtheria.
Public health officials are concerned that failures to test migrants before moving them from the south coast to hotels in other parts of the country was reckless.
Jim McManus, who serves as president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, issued a statement.
“This situation could and should have been prevented and it is entirely arguable that the lack of information, co-ordination and engagement from the Home Office has made the situation far worse than it could have been.
“It has created additional and preventable burdens on local health systems and has put both asylum seekers and potentially hotel workers at avoidable and preventable risk. We want to work constructively and effectively as directors of public health with the government for the good of everybody.
“We offered the Home Office collaboration and our efforts were rebuffed.”
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