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Refugees need dermatologists, conference told

Tuesday May 24th, 2016

Dermatologists have been urged to get involved with Europe's refugee crisis to prevent the spread of skin disease.

Travellers often arrive in refugee camps afflicted with diseases with "simple remedies," a European summit was told.

Dermatologists should be involved in training aid workers as well as providing direct care to tackle these diseases, the event was told.

Doctors have been in Athens, Greece, for the 13th symposium of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

The symposium heard that doctors should be on the alert for diseases, especially infectious diseases, that are not usually seen in Europe.

These include leprosy, yaws, cutaneous leishmaniasis and cutaneous tuberculosis.

Doctors were also encouraged to help identify victims of torture so they can be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Professor Roderick Hay, of King's College, London, told the event: “Skin diseases are common in the world's poorest and most disadvantaged communities leading to discomfort, disfigurement and further marginalisation.

"The unhygienic and overcrowded conditions, in which refugees have to live, lead to the development and spread of skin diseases. However, many of these have simple remedies.

"It’s our responsibility as dermatologists to provide care and also train the aid workers who work in refugee camps to proper diagnose and to use the simple cost-effective treatments and preventive measures that are available.”

He added: “Refugees and migrants often come from communities affected by war or economic crisis and undertake long, exhausting journeys that increase their risks for diseases. Therefore, at arrival, the most common skin diseases seen are infections related to poor hygiene and living conditions in overcrowded spaces, such as scabies, pediculosis and bacterial skin infections."

Tags: Dermatology | Europe | Traveller Health | UK News

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