A rise in cases of high risk infectious diphtheria in Guntur and Prakasam districts is causing concern.

Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by bacterial infection and is characterised by high fever, chills, sore throat etc.

The District Immunisation Office has recorded seven cases so far with some people admitted at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (Fever Hospital) on Amaravathi Road. One death was reported some days back.

Four cases have been traced to Prakasam district. But diagnosis of these cases is not easy as culture tests have often proved to be negative as samples are collected from pseudo membranes.

Common among migrants

The illness is common among migrant population, daily labourers like stone crushers and construction workers.

“We also found that in certain cases, the children have not been given second and third boost of Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) vaccine at one-and-a-half years and five years respectively. We request all the parents to follow the immunisation schedule,” District Immunisation Officer M. Suhasini told The Hindu on Sunday.

Among those admitted at IDH included a five-year old girl, Panneru Rajeswari.

She was admitted to the hospital with complaints of high fever, sore throat and swollen neck.

Nagamani, Rajeswari’s grandmother said, “My granddaughter developed high fever a week back. The fever subsided but the next day, there was a swelling near her throat and she developed high fever again. We admitted her to a private hospital before moving her to the government hospital here.”

No injection stock

Doctors treating diphtheria cases are worried as there are no readymade stocks of Anti-Diphtheria Serum available.

The regional vaccination store here has no stock of injections available forcing the patients to fetch stocks from Hyderabad. It appears that the District Medical Authorities have not yet ordered the stock of injections.

Detailed survey to be taken up

The District Immunisation Office is also starting a special diphtheria drive from October 10. Detailed survey is being taken up in all villages where cases of diphtheria have been reported and steps will be taken to immunise all children below 5 years, said Dr. Suhasini.