Spain: meningitis alarm in Melilla migrant centre

Thousands of sub-saharan immigrants queue at the local temporarty immigrant holding center (CETI) in Melilla, Spanish enclave of the Northern African coast

A meningitis alarm has arrived on top of an emergency caused by the massive arrivals of migrants in recent days in Melilla, the Spanish enclave in Morocco. A case of meningitis was recorded in the centre for temporary detention (CETI) that has forced health authorities to launch a prevention and quarantine protocol for 226 people, between Sub-Saharans and facility personnel.

According to health sources cited by the media, a 19-year-old Sub-Saharan held in the CETI was hospitalized in critical condition for meningitis in the intensive care unit of the Melilla hospital. Local government representative Abdelmalik El Barkani assured local media that it was “an isolated case” and that “to say that it is an epidemic would create alarm and would not be responsible”.

Barkani explained that a plan was launched to transfer immigrants to other centres on the peninsula, which will depend on availability of places. The municipal department of health acquired 200 vaccines against meningitis to be administered to personnel working in the CETI. The Federal Police Union just yesterday denounced the saturation of the immigrant centre after the mass arrival of 500 Sub-Saharans during an assault last Tuesday on the border of the autonomous city.

There are currently 1800 migrants in the temporary detention centre, which has a 472 person capacity. The Red Cross has installed 17 tents to house additional migrants, and army has set up another 10 tents to handle the overcrowding.