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Open Access Diphtheria in Europe

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

A rising number of diphtheria cases were recorded in Europe in 2022, including in Belgium, within the newly arriving young migrant population. In October 2022, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a temporary roadside container-clinic offering free medical consultations. Over 3 months of activity, the temporary clinic detected 147 suspected cases of cutaneous diphtheria with 8 laboratory-confirmed cases growing toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae. This was followed by a mobile vaccination campaign, during which 433 individuals living rough in squats and informal shelters were vaccinated. This intervention has shown how even in Europe’s capital, access to preventive and curative medical services remains difficult for those who need it the most. Appropriate access to health services, including routine vaccination, are crucial to improve the health status among migrants.

Keywords: Corynebacterium diphtheriae; cutaneous diphtheria; migration; vaccination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Médecins Sans Frontières, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: June 21, 2023

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