Budapest (MTI) – Migration and the resulting spread of diseases could be one of the greatest challenges in the 21st century, the director general in charge of disease prevention in Italy’s health ministry said on Tuesday.
It is important to develop monitoring capacities in order to filter out contagious diseases and to set up immunisation programmes, Ranieri Guerra said during a presentation at the Hungarian army health centre in Budapest.
Polio, West Nile fever and tuberculosis are increasingly common among people arriving from the Middle East and north Africa, he said.
Italy has significant experience with treating migrants, with World Health Organisation figures showing quarter of a million people arriving at Italy’s shores in two years, he said.
The situation in Africa is deteriorating, he said, adding that there is less and less drinking water and food, so further masses of migrants are likely to set off to Europe.
Under these circumstances, it is important to increase capacities for treating contagious disease in target countries beyond countries of origin. The Italian authorities have launched an immunisation scheme and vaccinated some 100,000 people. Additionally, people who have suffered trauma, sexual violence and torture need psychological help, he said.