UK diphtheria cases on the rise as disease ‘linked to migrant’s death’ at Manston

UK diphtheria cases on the rise as disease 'linked to migrant’s death' at Manston. Credit: william barton/

THE death of a migrant at the Manston processing centre could have been caused by diphtheria, the Home Office has said.

It is reported that the number of diphtheria infections has risen to about 50, after an outbreak of the highly contagious bacterial infection has hit the centre.

This is amid concerns about the spread of the disease in the centre, which has struggled with overcrowding, as migrants were moved from the Kent facility to hotels around the country.

The UK Government confirmed that a PCR test on the man who died after being held at the centre for a week indicates that “diphtheria may be the cause of the illness”.

The man, who is believed to have entered the UK on a small boat across the English Channel, died in hospital on November 19 – seven days after he arrived.

Initial tests at a hospital near the centre in Kent came back negative – but a follow-up PCR was positive.

Public health officials have raised concerns about the spread of the highly-contagious disease as people were moved from the facility to hotels.

The processing centre, designed to host people for up to 24 hours, has been a place of controversy since thousands of migrants were detained at the site for several weeks.

A government spokesperson said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of the man who has died and all those affected by this loss.”

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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.