Health officials in Auckland, New Zealand are reporting they were notified of a case of diphtheria on 2 February.


The person with the disease has been isolated, and is being treated with antibiotics and immunization boosters. They are in good health and do not need hospital treatment.

It is very likely the person caught the disease overseas.

Everyone who has been in close contact with that person has been identified. They have all been given antibiotics and immunization boosters as a precaution, because these work really well against diphtheria.

ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Brad Novak says no one else has tested positive for the disease, which is very reassuring.

“There is little or no risk to the public. Diphtheria is a serious disease, but in this case we have contained it early.”

Cases of diphtheria are very uncommon in New Zealand, where our immunization programme helps protect us, Dr Novak says.

“This is an important reminder to ensure all of our children are immunized, and that adults have immunization boosters too.”

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.