THE number of cases of diphtheria among asylum seekers who have recently arrived to the UK has surged to more than 50, according to recent figures.
The highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease, affects the skin, nose and throat.
This follows reports that one person may have died from diphtheria last week after being held at Manston processing centre in Kent.
All cases of diphtheria are believed to be linked to the site near Manston, The Guardian reported.
This is despite the Home Office only reporting one case of the deadly disease since September – that is likely to relate to Manston.
Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection that affects the nose, throat and sometimes cause ulcers on the skin.
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The Manston migration centre in Kent is now 3,000 people over its 1,000 capacity and continues to grow.
Sir Roger Gale – the MP for North Thanet – said the conditions are "wholly unacceptable".
He told BBC Radio 4 last month: "There are simply far too many people and this situation should never have been allowed to develop, and I'm not sure that it hasn't almost been developed deliberately."
What are the 7 symptoms of diptheria you need to know:
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Symptoms of the illness usually start two to five days after you become infected.
The NHS says the key signs include:
- a thick grey-white coating that may cover the back of your throat, nose and tongue
- a high temperature (fever)
- sore throat
- swollen glands in your neck
- difficulty breathing and swallowing
- pus-filled blisters on your legs, feet and hands
- large ulcers surrounded by red, sore looking skin
Since 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a rise in cases in places such as Indonesia, India, South American and Africa.
It's spread by coughs and sneezes or through close contact with someone who is infected.
You can, however, also get it from sharing items such as cups, clothing or bedding with an infected person.
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Babies and children in the UK are vaccinated against diphtheria, meaning cases are rare.
However, the infection is potentially dangerous to migrants who come from countries where this is not the case.
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