More than 200 diphtheria cases have been reported in the Americas year-to-date, with Venezuela and Haiti accounting for all but one, according to UN health officials.

Western hemisphere map Public domain image/ E Pluribus Anthony
Western hemisphere map
Public domain image/ E Pluribus Anthony

Since July 2016, Venezuela has seen 447 suspected diphtheria cases (324 in 2016 and 123 in 2017), of which 51 were laboratory confirmed, including 7 deaths [Anzoátegui (2 fatal cases), Bolívar (1 fatal case), Monagas (3 fatal cases), and Sucre (1 fatal case)]; the cumulative case fatality rate among confirmed cases is 20%.

With regard to the vaccination status of the confirmed cases, 78% had an incomplete schedule, 15% were not vaccinated, and for 7% the vaccination status is unknown.

LISTEN: What’s happened to Zika? Is the outbreak in the Americas over?

In Haiti, a total of 72 probable diphtheria cases were reported in 2017 to date. Of the total cases, 22 were laboratory confirmed, including 3 deaths (case fatality rate of 13.6 % among confirmed cases). Vaccination status is unknown for 54.5% of the confirmed cases, 18.2% were vaccinated, and 27.3% were not vaccinated. The confirmed cases come from four departments: Artibonite, Centre, Ouest, and Sud Est.

One case was reported in confirmed in the state of Roraima, Brazil; however, it was likely contracted in Venezuela.