Thiruvananthapuram

Diphtheria resurfaces in district

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10-year-old boy from Parassala tests positive for disease

Diphtheria has surfaced again in the district, with a 10-year-old boy, Sajeed from Parassala, who had been admitted to SAT Hospital with suspected diphtheria or tonsillitis, testing positive for diphtheria.

This is the second case of diphtheria in the district this year, after a 21-year-old college student from Kattakada testing positive for the disease in January.

The boy, who had been admitted to SAT on May 22, has recovered well without any complications and is due for discharge in a day or two.

Missed booster dose

SAT Hospital Superintendent A. Santhoshkumar said that the child appeared to have completed the primary immunisation, but he had not been given the booster dose of DT (Diphtheria Tetanus) vaccine at five years.

“The child did not develop any complications probably because of the protection afforded by the primary immunisation. However, this case just goes to show that booster vaccination at appropriate ages is equally important for complete protection against the disease. The primary immunity can wane over time,” Dr. Santhoshkumar said.

In the case of diphtheria, apart from the booster dose at five years, the TT (Tetanus Toxoid) vaccination at 10 years has now been replaced by Td (Tetanus-diphtheria) vaccine, as part of the national policy, as diphtheria seemed to be surfacing in older adults in recent years, following an epidemiological age shift.

Highly contagious

The boy has been administered the diphtheria anti-toxin, while all family members or contacts would be administered Erythromycin for 10 days as well as Td vaccine as prophylaxis as diphtheria is a highly contagious airborne infection.

Health officials said that preventive and control measures had been initiated in the locality and that local epidemiological investigations would be carried out.

Appeal to parents

Meanwhile, in a press release, the district health administration has appealed to all parents to take special care to ensure that children are fully immunised as per the vaccination schedule to prevent the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

There are 25 children in the district who remain totally unimmunised, while another 325 have only been partially immunised. This year so far, the district has reported two cases of diphtheria, 216 cases of measles, 11 cases of Pertussis and 51 cases of Mumps, the press release said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 2:58:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/diphtheria-resurfaces-in-district/article27279765.ece

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