Child and adolescent refugees in Germany represent a particularly vulnerable social group and treating infectious diseases forms a crucial part of providing their medical care. From an infectious diseases perspective, refugees themselves, as a result of their difficult personal circumstances, are the ones at highest risk. Even in crisis situations, medical practitioners are medically and ethically obliged to provide a high standard of care. The guidelines presented here propose recommendations for diagnosing and preventing infectious diseases among refugees under 18 in Germany. The guidelines are intended to assist in optimizing vaccine protection and treatment of diseases while taking into consideration factors such as refugees' challenging living conditions, cultural differences and potential language barriers.Upon refugees' arrival at the first housing sites, it is recommended that a basic clinical screening (and not just a brief visual inspection) be provided in order to identify and initiate treatment for acute medical problems and potentially contagious diseases (including tuberculosis), as well as to close gaps in vaccination coverage. Documentation of the clinical findings is critical, both to avoid redundant investigations and to optimize individual medical care. For this, an effective communication system must be established.Once refugees have been transferred into their destination community, outpatient and inpatient care providers should collaborate to bring refugees up-to-date with all vaccines recommended by STIKO (German Standing Committee on Vaccination). The same high standard of medical care should be delivered to refugees as would be to the general population. Due to the high prevalence of multi-resistant organisms (MRO) in the refugees' countries of origin, MRO screening is recommended for most patients receiving inpatient care.
Keywords: Communicable diseases; Inpatients; Prevention & control; Tuberculosis; Vaccination.