Diphtheria – Vietnam

October 22, 2021 – Three cases of diphtheria reported in the Ky Son district in Vietnam. The individual cases are school aged children. There were admitted to local hospitals for medical treatment. No deaths have been reported.

Diphtheria is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted from person to person. Symptoms of the bacterial infection include trouble breathing, sore through, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Untreated, severe cases can lead to paralysis and/or death. Symptoms among the cases and origin of infection of the bacteria were not mentioned in the source.

Public health actions that has been implemented include screening all the children in the schools within the Cha Lan and Xop Thang villages, performing investigations and sampling, and lab analysis. Community awareness of diphtheria control and prevention. Diphtheria is usually preventable by vaccination. However, according to the source, there are community members who have not been vaccinated against diphtheria, especially children.

Photo: Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Gram stained.

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Signs and symptoms may vary from mild to severe. They often come on fairly gradually, beginning with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, a grey or white patch develops in the throat and there is a risk of the airway being blocked. The neck may swell in part due to enlarged lymph nodes. A form of diphtheria which involves the skin, eyes or genitals also exists.

Diphtheria is usually spread between people by direct contact or through the air. Contaminated objects may also spread the disease. Some people carry the bacterium without having symptoms, but can still spread the disease to others.

A diphtheria vaccine is effective for prevention and recommended during childhood.

Diphtheria currently occurs most often in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Indonesia. In areas where it is still common, children are most affected.

The disease is rare in the developed world due to widespread vaccination but can re-emerge if vaccination rates decrease.

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