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Diphtheria cases rise among migrants arriving in Britain — UK health agency

LONDON, United Kingdom - The number of diphtheria cases found in asylum seekers arriving into Britain has risen, health officials said on Monday, adding that the risk of infection to the wider public remained very low.

According to data released by Britain's Health Security Agency (UKHSA) there were around 50 cases amongst asylum seekers who arrived in England between Jan. 1 and Nov. 25.

Diphtheria is an infectious disease that affects the upper respiratory tract and occasionally the skin. There are vaccines to help protect people against it, British health authorities said.

“In order to limit the risk of diphtheria being passed on within asylum seeker settings, UKHSA continues to recommend that individuals arriving at Reception Centres, and who have moved on recently, are offered a diphtheria vaccine and preventative treatment," Trish Mannes, UKHSA Director for the South East, said. -- Reuters