Bulgarian Epidemiologist on ISIS’ Biological Warfare: What Frightens Me Most is Illegal Migration

Below are excerpts from a Bulgarian television report about the infectious diseases brought into the country by illegal immigrants. The medical expert interviewed for the program is most concerned about the possibility of deliberate infection as an act of biological warfare by the Islamic State.

Many thanks to Tanya T for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Transcript (times from the original feature):

18:58   Most Bulgarians, who two years ago were tolerant of the refugees,
19:02   are already tired of waiting for the problem to be solved.
19:05   Moreover, they don’t believe that the government is reacting adequately to the unceasing flood.
19:09   The reaction of more and more people is that migrants must clear off, right away —
19:13   by planes, trains, busses, by foot, no matter how.
19:17   The concerns of Bulgarians increased once again last week, when suspicions arose
19:22   that contagious diseases have broken out in the camp.
19:25   Is it true there is Leishmaniasis? We will find out
19:29   from the interview with professor Kamen Plochev,
19:33   head of the Infectious Diseases Clinic, Defence Services Medical Academy,
19:37   whose medical team examined the people in the refugee camp in Harmanli.
19:40   Professor Plochev’s concerns are:
19:43   What have you discovered during this examination? Which diseases are a fact? Is there scabies?
19:52   There is scabies, yes. 28 patients had scabies, 34 more had pyoderma,
19:57   i.e. inflammation of the pustules of the scabies,
20:04   which happens after scratching, especially with dirty hands. So scabies,
20:08   rash diseases in general, prevailed. They were present.
20:13   Is there cholera? —No, no cholera. There was not a single enteric disease.
20:17   Tuberculosis? —No, not a single case. —Is there typhus?
20:22   No. —Rubeola (measles)? —No, no rubeola. There is varicella (chicken pox), however.
20:28   There are cases of varicella. It’s a children’s disease, that… It’s normal that these children
20:33   should suffer from it — there is no immunization against it there, so…
20:36   Varicella is our last problem now, in my opinion. —Yes, that’s my opinion too.
20:39   And is there Leishmaniasis? —During examination we did not find a single case of Leishmaniasis.
20:44   Our colleagues on the spot informed us of one case that has been diagnosed
20:49   and treated, and the treatment ended successfully.
20:54   It is, by the way, a benign disease. It disappears by itself,
20:57   when there are proper hygienic conditions.
21:00   It is not clear whether there are other cases? Its incubation period is rather long…
21:04   We have not discovered other cases during this examination.
21:08   But this is just the present examination. In a few months we will examine them again.
21:11   It won’t be a single act — we will continue to monitor those groups of people
21:16   who are clustered at those places, and we will know.
21:22   The trouble is, we can’t examine those around Lion’s Bridge (area of Sofia where migrants gather).
21:26   I’ve read an interview of yours, in which you say that plague and cholera
21:30   could penetrate into our country with the refugees.
21:33   Yes they could. They could, because in the Pakistan region
21:38   there are areas where there are episodic plague outbreaks.
21:43   There is also cholera. You know, India, Pakistan — it’s where cholera originated.
21:47   Thank God, so far we haven’t had such cases; from Pakistan we have
21:52   almost no refugees. —Many of them are from Afghanistan.
21:58   Well, with them it’s very complex — many of them go to Pakistan, then go back to Afghanistan.
22:03   They continually go… their bases are there… We have evaluated this risk,
22:08   and are prepared to deliberately screen for these diseases.
22:13   And if you find them, what then? —If we find them, we’ll start treating them.
22:17   Look, treating plague or cholera under modern conditions is not a problem.
22:20   Cholera with saline infusions, plague with antibiotics…
22:24   On the whole, treating them is not a problem. The problem is
22:28   diagnosing and isolating them. This is the problem.
22:33   Is it true that cases of hepatitis A and B been found?
22:39   At the camp that we went to, in Harmanli, we found no such cases.
22:45   About other camps, I could not say. Look, there is a particular aspect —
22:49   in these regions hepatitis A is contracted in early childhood.
22:53   Before the age of 7-8 years they have all had hepatitis A.
22:56   The issue is, when the children come,
22:59   to prevent their contracting hepatitis A here, because there are cases of it in our country, too.
23:06   They say that there are cases of hepatitis B , and it is
23:10   the result of close contacts with the Roma population.
23:13   Yes, it is possible with close contacts… let’s say it plainly, via sexual contacts,
23:18   this disease is transmitted form person to person.
23:25   It is quite possible, but it’s not certain who will infect whom.
23:28   Do not think that the women who…
23:32   or the men of Bulgarian ethnicity who use such sexual services,
23:37   are healthier than those of immigrant origin.
23:42   If a dangerous and fast-spreading infection enters Bulgaria from the refugees and the migrants,
23:47   can our health-care system cope?
23:52   With a certain number of infected, for example up to 100-200, yes,
23:58   but if the infected become more than 500, I’m not an optimist…
24:04   This would block the health-care system. There aren’t
24:08   so many specialists to work with these people.
24:13   And, most importantly, no one would be willing to work with these people…
24:16   because everyone wants to preserve one’s own health. Look,
24:19   I want to point out another, much more dangerous component —
24:22   so far we have been talking about natural morbidity, coming through
24:26   natural circumstances — the circumstances of the migrant wave,
24:29   morbidity that has biological and social causes.
24:34   I am much more concerned about intentional use of bacterial agents.
25:08   We have no right to ignore this risk — we must evaluate it,
25:14   and prepare medical staff to face such a threat and liquidate it.
25:23   You mean that you would have to detect the case upon entry? —That’s right.
25:27   This is the big challenge. It has to happen upon entry.
25:30   That’s why what frightens me most is illegal migration.
25:33   The illegal migrant could continue to Serbia and leave.
25:37   But the trafficker, if he is infected, he would return —
25:42   to his home, to his village, and there the infection becomes undetectable,
25:46   because we couldn’t find out how he got infected.
25:49   He wouldn’t say that he smuggles migrants. Do you understand
25:53   what this is about? The risks involved are very great.
26:21   Colonel Slavcho Velkov, center for Near Eastern Studies: I am a part of
26:24   the information team of the Defence Medical Crisis Headquarters Staff.
26:27   I’d like you to know that counteraction plans have been developed,
26:33   but the capacity for reaction is not limitless.
26:37   I’ll give you just one example —
26:40   there is unconfirmed data from British Intelligence
26:43   that in Raqqa, in one of the Islamic State’s development sections,
26:47   a project is being developed for using drones to deliver chemical and biological weapons
26:55   on European territory, and strike a blow in this way.
26:58   So, Professor Plochev is right that if the cases are too many…
27:04   When biological agents are involved things become very complicated —
27:08   just a few milligrams could destroy a city of 500,000,
27:12   if it is a particularly dangerous biological agent.
27:16   But let us not scare the people — plans for reaction have been developed.

One thought on “Bulgarian Epidemiologist on ISIS’ Biological Warfare: What Frightens Me Most is Illegal Migration

  1. Plans for reaction (to biological warfare attacks) have been developed …

    Sure they have … and “it is being studied by our very best people. Don’t ask who, we can’t tell you – but they are our very best people”

    Trust us – why would we lie?

    Sometimes, being aware of the magnitude of the threat(s), and the determination of most governments to ignore them, and of the mainstream media to hide the problem(s) and the collusion of business and government in misdirecting attention away from the problem(s) just makes my brain hurt.

    Thanks for being a good source of information not available elsewhere.

    John in Indy

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