Intended for healthcare professionals


Refugees pose little health risk, says WHO

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 08 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4808
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The World Health Organization has sought to dispel any fears that refugees arriving in Europe may bring infectious diseases with them.

In the wake of growing concern over the refugee crisis and scenes of chaos and despair in Hungary and Turkey last week, Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, has issued a statement saying that no “systematic association” exists between migration and the importation of infectious diseases. She said that communicable diseases were primarily associated with poverty.

“The risk that exotic infectious agents, such as Ebola virus or Middle East respiratory coronavirus (MERS-CoV), will be imported into Europe is extremely low, and experience has shown that, when it occurs, it affects regular travellers, tourists, or healthcare workers rather than refugees or migrants,” …

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