This was a terrible surprise for me! I live in Bern, Switzerland, just about 1km (0.62 mile) away from the center…
Several cases of diphtheria have been diagnosed at the Federal Asylum Center in Bern in the former Ziegler Hospital as testified by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
“Throat diphtheria was confirmed in two people and there is a positive toxin finding,” said spokesman Samuel Wyss.
Pharyngeal diphtheria was confirmed in four other people. Respiratory symptoms are not present.
Over 180 people in quarantine
People living on two floors are affected by the quarantine:
- 92 unaccompanied minors in quarantine on the seventh floor
- 83 asylum seekers on the fifth floor.
“Basically, the entire federal asylum center is currently closed, so external appointments and/or transfers are currently not possible,” said Wyss.
The infected people have been isolated. “Everyone else is in contact with each other on their floor,” explains the spokesman. In addition, a mask mandate has been introduced in the building. Immigrants living on the other floors are allowed to move freely (in overall they are 350 in the building).
In addition to regular tests, vaccinations are also offered. Vaccination skepticism does not exist. (Probably because if they refuse it, they are kicked out)…
Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), there are two types: respiratory or pharyngeal diphtheria and skin diphtheria.
The last case of pharyngeal diphtheria in Switzerland occurred in 1983. According to the statistics, the few cases in recent years involved skin diphtheria.
In the present cases, the pathogen primarily affects the upper respiratory tract and produces a toxin that can lead to dangerous complications and long-term damage. Transmission occurs from person to person via droplet infection – i.e. through physical contact, coughing or sneezing.
The disease begins after two to five days. Principal symptoms are sore throat, fever and difficulty swallowing. Hoarseness, wheezing and swelling of the lymph nodes occur later. There is possibility of tonsillitis and/or pharyngitis with grey-white, sweet-smelling coverings.
According to the BAG, these deposits bleed when they are removed and, under certain circumstances, block the airways to such an extent that the patient can suffocate. The mortality rate for pharyngeal diphtheria is “high” at up to 50 percent.
According to the health authorities, unvaccinated small children and older people are particularly at risk. In Switzerland, most of the babies are vaccinated against diphtheria several times before their first birthday. [BAG, Nau]
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