At least 170 refugees in a tent camp in Turkey’s eastern Igdir province allegedly have tuberculosis, Gazete Duvar news website reported on Thursday.
Journalist Irfan Ucar alleged that at least 170 refugees in Igdir’s removal center, where applicants for international protection are detained, have caught tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis, an infectious disease that is usually caused by bacteria, spreads through the air when people who have the disease in their lungs cough, spit, speak or sneeze. It kills about half of those affected with the bacteria when left untreated.
“Six people, who were taken to a hospital in Igdir and examined, were diagnosed with tuberculosis. But the number of people in the camp who caught the disease is not limited to that. It is indicated that at least 170 people in the camp came down with the disease,” Ucar said on his Twitter account.
The journalist stated that the removal center in Igdir, which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior’s Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), has become a “tuberculosis camp.”
Ucar posted a series of tweets using the hashtag #IğdırdaTüberkülozKampı (tuberculosis camp in Igdir) and explained his allegations in detail.
“I couldn’t get through to Muhlis Lordoglu, Igdir provincial head of the DGMM, due to the 9-day-long [Eid-al-Fitr] holiday. At least 350 cleaning and safety staff are currently under risk of catching tuberculosis,” Ucar warned.
He said there are between 700 and 800 Afghan and Pakistani refugees staying in the tent camp who experience major health issues due to undernourishment and insufficient cleaning.
“The refugees are not allowed to leave the camp as long as one or two months,” Ucar added.
Stating that there are not enough showers at the camp, he underlined that tuberculosis is mostly seen in people who have low body immunity because of poor nourishment and hygiene.
“Those who came down with tuberculosis can recover from the disease with regular medication treatment for at least six months provided that they live in a clean environment and receive adequate and balanced nutrition,” the journalist explained.
Ucar further indicated that some of the patients, who were in critical condition, were sent to the capital Ankara for treatment.
“Those patients have been staying in a tent camp with mostly men between ages of 18 and 35 and some 200 women,” he added.
According to the 2018 Global tuberculosis report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.6 million of the 10 million people, who fell ill with the disease worldwide in 2017, died from it.
WHO states that tuberculosis is among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.