Migrants rescued on the Mediterranean Sea route: nutritional, psychological status and infectious disease control
Keywords:Surveillance, Laboratory Blood Screening, Migrants, healthy migrant hypothesis, exhausted migrant effect
Introduction: North Africa has become a key migratory hub where a large number of migrants attempt the journey by sea from the Libyan coastline to the south of Europe. In this humanitarian disaster scenario, the Mediterranean route has been one of the most used by illegal boats.
Methodology: In this report, the state of physical and psychological health of a cluster of Eritrean migrants, escaped from Libya and rescued in the Mediterranean Sea after a shipwreck, was described by epidemiological, clinical and laboratory investigations.
Results: Data suggest that despite the majority of the migrants being apparently in good health upon a syndromic surveillance approach, most of them suffered a decline in psychological status as well as severe malnutrition. The emergence of infectious diseases, related to poor living conditions during the journey, is not a rare event.
Conclusion: The present report highlights the risks of failures of the syndromic medical approach in the setting of the extremely challenging migration route and underlines migrant frailties consequent to a prolonged journey and long period of detention. These stressors, which can degrade the initial health condition of traveling migrants, can lead to a premature "exhausted migrant effect" that should be carefully investigated in order to avoid the early emergence of diseases related to frailty.
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