A Disease From Over A Century Ago Is BACK And Is Going After Kids….
An Australian child was diagnosed with a deadly disease, a century after the first case was been detected.
The deadly disease is very rare that it has raised concerns among doctors and public health experts, even catching the attention of World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The first case is an unvaccinated toddler from the far north coast of New South Wales who is in intensive care after catching respiratory diphtheria (diphtheria of the throat). A six-year-old close family contact is also infected.
Diphtheria is a potentially deadly infection caused by toxins produced by certain strains of Corynebacterium bacteria. Respiratory diphtheria causes severe swelling of the throat and neck, which can block the airway and cause breathing problems.
The bacterial toxin can also damage the heart, kidneys, brain, and nerves. The bacteria can also cause skin sores, which are not as serious as respiratory diphtheria. The diphtheria bacteria spread through respiratory droplets, for example, from coughing or sneezing. They can also spread through touching skin sores.
There is no ongoing risk to the broader community but families should be alert and review their children's immunization status, North Coast Public Health director Paul Douglas said.
“Diphtheria is very rare in Australia due to our longstanding childhood immunization program,” Dr. Douglas said. “However, the disease has very serious outcomes and can be fatal.”
"The diphtheria vaccination is free and readily available from your GP for everyone from six weeks of age."
NSW Health updated its factsheet on the disease, advising the infection is "usually spread from respiratory droplets after an infected person has coughed or sneezed".
No other cases of diphtheria of the throat have been reported in NSW this century but less-serious cases have been reported on rare occasions. They have mainly involved skin infections.
Diphtheria was a common cause of death in children up until the 1940s but it now occurs mainly in countries with poor immunization levels, according to NSW Health.
The infection is spread through coughing and sneezing, and can also spread by contact with contaminated surfaces.
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