Cases of diphtheria reported in Switzerland

The centre - a former hospital in Bern - was opened six years ago and can house up to 350 asylum seekers. Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

Several people have been infected with diphtheria at a centre for asylum seekers – the first known cases of the bacterial infection in Switzerland in nearly 40 years.

This content was published on August 3, 2022 - 17:21

Up to eight people living in a centre in the capital, Bern, contracted the disease but had no difficulties breathing, a spokesman for the State Secretariat for Migration said on Tuesday.

The infected group of people were put in isolation and more than 170 other asylum seekers, notably unaccompanied minors, are in quarantine at the centreExternal link.

The former hospital houses up to 350 people during the first phase of their asylum procedure.

Diphtheria rarely occurs in Western Europe, where children for decades have been vaccinated against the highly contagious infection of the nose and throat.

However, diphtheria is still common in developing countries, according to experts.

The last known case of the infectious disease in Switzerland was recorded in 1983, the Federal Office of Public Health writesExternal link.

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