Scabies and TB at Brussels North Station?

The Mayor of Schaarbeek, Bernard Clerfayt (DéFi), is requesting an investigation following reports of an outbreak of scabies at the Brussels North Station.  Bus drivers working for the Flemish local transport company De Lijn are refusing to stop at the station out of fears of contracting diseases including TB and scabies.

The drivers have been complaining about unhygienic and unsafe conditions at the North Station for a year now.  The station is popular as a stopover for migrants eager to make for the UK.  There are reports of outbreaks of scabies and TB among migrants and homeless people living in the area.

Mayor Clerfayt points to a police report containing suspicions that both diseases have been recorded at the station.  Scabies is a disease that surfaces in unhygienic situations.  It is transmitted by a mite that burrows into the skin where it lays its eggs triggering itching.  Scabies isn't really dangerous, but is unpleasant.

The mayor is dispatching regional medical officials to the station to determine the true nature of the situation. An epidemic calls for action, but the mayor believes that the conditions the migrants are living in makes the situation impossible.

Up to 200 migrants make the North Station their temporary home, where they can partake in free food distributions and enjoy free Wi-Fi.  Mobile phones can be reloaded and the migrants can shelter in the station for a while.

Mr Clerfayt is unhappy there hasn't been any structural solution for the migrant problem: "The police carry out administrative checks and then ask the immigration department what they should do.  They are told to release the migrants in 90% of cases."

The mayor believes the federal government has been lacking in its approach: "They say these people are not allowed in the country, but they are here and need a loo, to eat and somewhere to sleep.  As long as the federal government doesn't take its responsibility, we're turning in circles."

Top stories