Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini claims tuberculosis is spreading in Italy and suggests that uncontrolled immigration is to blame.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the head of the far-right League party known for its anti-immigration stance, said “tuberculosis has returned to spread” and that Italians are paying the costs of an “invasion without rules and without controls”, in reference to migrants.
As of Thursday afternoon, the post has been shared over 20,000 times.
In the post, Salvini referenced a local Italian news article in which Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Regional Council of Veneto, voiced alarm after a migrant ill with tuberculosis fled a migrant reception centre in the northern Italian town of Sandrigo.
He pointed out that there were 40 cases of tuberculosis this year in the province of Vicenza, where Sandrigo is located, although it’s unclear whether the cases are from locals or migrants.
Salvini has not put any evidence forward to support his claim that tuberculosis is spreading in Italy.
“There is not a justified alarm. Our national health system is well prepared and competent to manage this disease,” Maurizio Marceca, a professor in the department of public health and infectious diseases at Sapienza University in Rome, told Euronews.
Meanwhile the Italian Society of Migration Medicine said there were 6.6 tuberculosis cases per 100,000 people in 2016, compared with 8.1 per 100,000 inhabitants a decade earlier.
In a statement to Euronews it said the risk of falling ill due to tuberculosis as a foreigner in Italy had been falling.
The society claimed there were 84.1 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 foreigners in 2006, compared with 44.5 in 2016.
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