Saturday, October 3, 2015

Greece: Migrants accused of bringing CHOLERA to Kos as tourist struck down with disease

(Express) It is feared that the bacterial infection may have been brought in through the influx of migrants arriving on the Greek island, which has become a main entry point for those fleeing war-torn countries.

An official from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a 79-year-old Dutch tourist with symptoms of cholera was transferred from Kos for tests and treatment in an Athens hospital.

The patient was suffering from bad diarrhoea and high fever, but the diagnosis has not yet been confirmed.

The centre said in a statement: "We are proceeding with more examinations to avoid the danger of a contagious disease.

"There are fears that a case may have been transmitted through the migratory wave."

Cholera is extremely rare in Greece, with the last confirmed case reported in 1993, according to the World Health Organisation.

The disease, which is most common in the Middle East, Africa and south-east Asia, is spread mainly through contaminated water and food.

If untreated, cholera can cause death by dehydration and kidney failure within hours.

More than 200,000 refugees are believed to have landed in Italy and Greece so far this year.

Most heading for Greece take the relatively short voyage from Turkey to the islands of Kos, Chios, Lesvos and Samos - often in flimsy rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

The small Greek islands have struggled to cope with the thousands of refugees arriving and have largely relied on volunteers.

At least 350,000 migrants have arrived on European soil between January and August this year, compared to 280,000 for the whole of 2014.