Measles outbreak in Walloon prison continues

Measles outbreak in Walloon prison continues
Lantin Prison is a minimum detention centre located in Lantin near Liège in Belgium. Credit: Wikipedia

For several days, Lantin prison – in Wallonia – has been faced with a measles epidemic, with new cases continuing to arise in the quarantined prison.

At the last count, just before the public holiday, six inmates and three guards were infected with the highly contagious disease that causes colds, fever and a severe rash.

Since the outbreak, prisoners have been confined to their cells, meaning no courtyard time and no visitors. If the situation persists, Lantin risks turning into a pressure cooker, with one prisoner telling RTBF that tension is rising in the prison: some prisoners are screaming and knocking on doors.

Currently, vaccinations are continuing in the prison, which holds around a thousand inmates. Prison management and medical services will review the outbreak on Sunday evening.

The decision to lift the quarantine or not will have consequences on several ongoing trials, including the murder of disabled teen Valentin Vermeesch.

Valentin’s body was fished out of La Meuse river in the town of Huy on April 14, 2017, after he was reported missing a week prior. His hands were tied behind his back, and he had a kitchen towel wrapped tightly around his neck.

This trial was suspended earlier this week because several of the defendants are in prison in Lantin and one of them, the only woman in the group was found to have the disease.

If the decision is taken to extend the confinement in Lantin, this trial will indeed be delayed again.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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