A former luxury hotel-turned migrant centre in Austria is the site of an outbreak of a deadly bacterial disease which has seen at least one migrant put into intensive care.
The outbreak of louse-born relapsing fever is just the latest re-emergence of diseases long thought exterminated in Europe, carried back to the continent by a great migratory movement of millions of people from Africa and Asia. Particularly associated with Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia, the extremely contagious bacteria causes severe illness and can be fatal in 30 to 70 per cent of cases, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
If untreated, the disease has a similar fatality rate to that of the 2015 West African Ebola outbreak.
Health authorities in Austria reacted immediately to the outbreak, reports Kronen Zeitung. Salzburg chief of public order Dr. Michael Haybäck said of the urgent measures taken to contain the infection: “According to Article 6 of the Law on Epidemics, we take all necessary measures without delay to meet a suspected case”.
The luxurious alpine country resort hotel Kobenzl was placed under quarantine, with rooms placed in lock-down and completely disinfected. Given that body lice are the main vector for the disease, the cleaning of mattresses and clothes was given especial priority.
Now all migrants living at the hotel will be required to wash their clothes at 60 degrees for the next six weeks, two weeks beyond the approximate life span of an infected louse. The other residents of the hotel are presently being examined to determine whether there are more cases to come, reports Salzburg24, but it is not presently known how many cases have been detected in total.
All staff at the centre have been issued with protective disposable clothing for their work with the migrants.
Borrelia recurrentis, the bacteria transferred from infected lice to humans which causes Relapsing Fever was a global disease a century ago until it was eradicated in Europe. It ravaged eastern Europe in the immediate aftermath of the Great War and during the Russian revolution, killing five million people from 13 million known cases between 1919 and 1923.
Migrants have been credited with a host of other diseases appearing in Europe again, in some cases for the first time in decades. As reported by Breitbart London, European hospitals have seen Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, And Malaria cases in historic numbers in the past year.