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Deadly disease alarm in Salzburg refugee home
Franz Fuchs/Wikipedia

Deadly disease alarm in Salzburg refugee home

The Local · 15 Apr 2016, 13:07

Published: 15 Apr 2016 13:07 GMT+02:00

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The man from Somalia had complained of intense pain and a high fever, leading to doctors being called out. On being taken to hospital, he was put in the intensive care ward on arrival and tests later confirmed he was suffering from the potentially deadly louse-borne relapsing fever, a rare disease spread by lice.

The asylum seeker had been given accommodation in the form of VIP Hotel Kobenzl in Salzburg, which had been converted to an asylum home to cope with the large number of refugees coming to the region.

Salzburg health officials quoted in local media said they had registered a growing number of diseases in asylum homes that until recently were thought to have died out in Europe. But the latest case caused particular concern.

Left untreated, the disease causes death in up to 40 percent of cases, and even if treated, still result in death of up to one in 20 of those infected.

Local health official Michael Hayback said that they had instantly ordered the man's room quarantined as well, and disinfected, as well as various mattresses and other items that were destroyed.

Everybody else living in the hotel had been ordered to wash their clothing in a boil wash, and will have to go through checks for the next six week to make sure they do not have lice.

In addition those working in the man's room need to wear protective clothing.

Story continues below…

Health experts said that the disease can only be spread through lice, and only then when the insect is crushed. That means that only one person can be infected per louse, and generally people need to have a heavy infestation of the insects for it to spread.

Story courtesy of Central European News

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