Health officials in Alberta, Canada are reporting one confirmed case of diphtheria and three identified carriers of the bacteria at an Edmonton area elementary school.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) continues to monitor and provide follow-up treatment for a small group of individuals who may have had close contact with this cluster of case and carriers.
At this time the risk to the rest of the school and the general public remains extremely low.
When someone who is fully immunized or immunized for their age, comes into contact with the bacteria that causes diphtheria, they may become a carrier and are often not symptomatic. For their protection and that of those around them, they receive the same treatment and are subject to the same isolation protocols as someone who is identified as symptomatic.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection causing inflammation in the upper respiratory tract that can lead to heart and neurological issues. It is spread through respiratory secretions and by direct contact skin contact.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, loss of appetite and feeling unwell. Severe disease can cause extreme neck swelling. Life threatening complications include upper airway obstruction.
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