Outbreak Alert: Diphtheria

May 20, 2015 | Diphtheria | 0 comments

Outbreak alert: Diphtheria

Update on the outbreak in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province


Update on the outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal Province

The first confirmed diphtheria case-patient was hospitalised in Durban on 15 March 2015 (onset of symptoms 11 March 2015), and additional cases continue to be reported. As at 27 May 2015, a total of 13 diphtheria cases (eight confirmed, 1 probable and four suspected), including five deaths, has been reported (Figure 2). In addition, two asymptomatic carriers of laboratory-confirmed toxigenic C. diphtheriae were identified in contacts epidemiologically linked to two confirmed cases. To date, diphtheria case-patients have been reported from two districts (eThekwini and Ugu) in KwaZuluNatal Province.

Diphtheria is preventable through immunisation. Immunity declines following immunisation, and many (20-80%) adults are susceptible to diphtheria.

Travellers to South Africa are urged to ensure that they are up-to-date regarding diphtheria immunisation.

Source:  Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, NICD-NHLS; Microbiology Laboratory, NHLS KwaZulu-Natal Academic Complex; Diagnostic Media Production Laboratory, NHLS Green Point Complex; Clinicians at hospitals in eThekwini and Ugu Districts, KwaZulu-Natal Province; KwaZulu-Natal Province Department of Health; eThekwini Municipality; Ugu District Department of Health

Updated: Monday 15 June 2015

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