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Tuberculosis bacteria; migrants

German report reveals public health consequences of migrant influx

The public health consequences of the massive influx of migrants in late 2015 into Germany was revealed for the first time, but some critics say the report is not comprehensive enough.

Published: July 15, 2017, 10:28 am

    The new report by the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) monitoring and preventing diseases, confirmed country-wide increase in disease since 2015, when Germany took in an unprecedented number of migrants.

    The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report, published on July 12, 2017, provides data on the status of more than 50 infectious diseases in Germany during 2016. Common diseases, many directly or indirectly linked to mass migration, are on the rise, according to the report.

    The report shows increased incidences in Germany of adenoviral conjunctivitis, botulism, chicken pox, cholera, cryptosporidiosis, dengue fever, echinococcosis, enterohemorrhagic E. coli, giardiasis, haemophilus influenza, Hantavirus, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, HIV/AIDS, leprosy, louse-borne relapsing fever, malaria, measles, meningococcal disease, meningoencephalitis, mumps, paratyphoid, rubella, shigellosis, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, trichinellosis, tuberculosis, tularemia, typhus and whooping cough.

    Although there have been no mass outbreaks among the general population as yet, there have been scares. A failed asylum seeker from Yemen who was given sanctuary at a church in northern Germany to prevent him from being deported, infected more than 50 German children with a highly contagious strain of tuberculosis.

    Some doctors believe that the actual number of cases of tuberculosis is far higher that the reported 30 percent and have accused the RKI of downplaying the threat in an effort to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.

    In an interview with Focus, Carsten Boos, an orthopedic surgeon, warned that German authorities have no idea of how many of the hundreds of thousands of migrants may be infected. Some 40 percent of all tuberculosis pathogens are multidrug-resistant and therefore inherently dangerous to the general population.

    “When asylum seekers come from countries with a high risk for tuberculosis infections, the RKI, as the highest German body for infection protection, should not downplay the danger. Is a federal institute using political correctness to conceal the unpleasant reality?

    “The media reports that in 2015, the federal police registered about 1.1 million refugees. Around 700 000 to 800 000 applications for asylum were submitted and 300 000 refugees have disappeared. Have they been checked? Do they come from the high risk countries?

    “One has the impression that in the RKI the left hand does not know what the right one is doing.”

    The incidence of Hepatitis B has increased by 300 percent during the last three years, according to the RKI. The number of reported cases in Germany was 3 006 in 2016, up from 755 cases in 2014. Most of the cases are said to involve unvaccinated migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

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