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Danish Worries Rise As Refugees Bring Back Diphtheria After A 20-Year Absence

Update Date: Jan 24, 2016 06:44 PM EST
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The Danish fear that the country is facing an influx of diphtheria, tuberculosis and malaria, along with the refugees fleeing from the Middle-East.

"There is no doubt that infectious diseases are coming in with the refugees that we aren't used to. There have been discussions on whether all refugees who come to Denmark should be screened," said Kurt Fuursted, spokesperson for the Danish State Serum Institute, according to RT.

The World Health Organisation had declared that the European nations ought to vaccinate the immigrants quickly.

"The unprecedented influx of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants to countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region poses a public health challenge that must be addressed in a timely, effective manner," the recommendation reads. "Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants should be vaccinated without unnecessary delay according to the immunization schedule of the country in which they intend to stay for more than a week."

Worryingly, the Danish did not follow the guidelines to vaccinate the refugees, so the officials are examining the possibility of the return of diphtheria, which is a bad case of nose and throat infection that has not been diagnosed in Denmark in about two decades.

"The infection can be very dangerous if one isn't vaccinated against it. The dangerous type is very rare and we last saw it in Denmark in 1998," Fuursted said.

Compared to other countries for immigration control, Denmark has been getting far fewer refugees. Last year, the country got about 18,000 refugees, while Sweden nearby faced an influx of more than 160,000.

As there has been a change in the attitudes in the last few weeks, the Danish MPs are planning to make amendments to the Aliens Act, in order to change the fate of a controversial law permitting officials to confiscate the refugees' cash and individual items going over $1,450 in value, reported Al Jazeera. Authorities have also begun to conduct spot checks on travelers entering through Germany.

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