Diphtheria reported in Spain, 1st case in three decades - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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An unimmunized 6-year-old boy from Olot has contracted diphtheria and is currently admitted at an Barcelona hospital ICU. This is the first recorded case of diphtheria in Spain since 1986, according to an El Pais report (computer translated).

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

The last two known patients with diphtheria in Spain were treated in 1986, according to the Health Ministry.

There was no anti-toxin available in the country to treat the patient because it is such a rare condition. The Health Ministry searched for diphtheria antitoxin worldwide and it was eventually delivered from Moscow to Barcelona by the Russian ambassador.

The anti-vaccine movement has grown worldwide in recent years due to their perceived health risk.  General secretary for the health service, Rubén Moreno, called these campaigns “irresponsible.” He continued: “The consequences of not vaccinating a child can be dramatic. The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide.”

Diphtheria is a dangerous respiratory disease is caused by a potent toxin produced by certain strains of the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Diphtheria is extremely contagious through coughing or sneezing. Risk factors include crowding, poor hygiene, and lack of immunization.

Symptoms usually appear within a week of infection. This infection is characterized by a sore throat, coughing and fever very similar to many common diseases like strep throat. Additional symptoms may be bloody, watery discharge from the nose and rapid breathing. However, a presumptive diagnosis can be made by observing a characteristic thick grayish patch (membrane) found in the throat. In more severe cases, neck swelling and airway obstruction may be observed. In the tropics, cutaneous and wound diphtheria is much more common and can be a source of transmission.

The real serious danger is when the toxin that is produced by the bacterium gets into the bloodstream and spreads to organs like the heart and nervous system. Myocarditis,congestive heart failure and neurological illnesses of paralysis that mimic Guillain-Barre syndrome are most severe. Even with treatment, fatalities are still seen in up to 10% of cases.

Diphtheria can be treated and cured successfully with antitoxin and antibiotics if started early enough. The prevention of diphtheria is through vaccination.

11 Comments

  1. Vicky says:

    Why is no one questioning how the child contracted a disease that hasn’t been around for 30 years?

    • Carla says:

      Vicky, the disease hasn’t been around because of the vaccination. The bacteria that causes the disease has been around, we are just immune to it because of the vaccination. Stop immunizing children, it comes back. I personally wonder how many children are going to die before the anti vaxxers get it’s important to immunize.

    • PSTMD says:

      Diphtheria hasn’t been seen IN SPAIN for 30 years because of the high rate of vaccination. Vaccination = Prevention. This child was stupidly not vaccinated.

      Diphtheria exists and continues to be a problem throughout the undeveloped world, especially just across the Mediterranean Sea in Northern Africa. It just takes 1 sick visitor or refugee to spread the disease to unvaccinated children anywhere in the world.

      There simply is NO GOOD REASON for not vaccinating your children. There is only paranoia and stubborn stupidity.

  2. […] An unimmunized 6-year-old boy from Olot has contracted diphtheria and is currently admitted at an Barcelona hospital ICU. This is the first recorded case of diphtheria in Spain since 1986, according to an El Pais report (computer translated). The last two known patients with diphtheria in Spain were treated in 1986, according to the Health Ministry. There […] Outbreak News Today » Europe […]

  3. Lois Reese says:

    First, my apologies for a long post, but it’s an important message. This isn’t a copy and paste deal, I wrote it. If you wish to educate yourself, this will be helpful. Please feel free to share.

    A few weeks ago, I researched diphtheria and discovered a great deal about it. My Mom’s youngest sister died at 12:00 a.m. December 26, 1940 at 4 years of age after a bout with diphtheria. It is a terrible disease, spread by mucus particulates (sneezing, coughing), primarily affecting young children. It resembles the common cold in the early stages, which inhibits diagnosis. Initial symptoms are a sore throat, swollen glands, weakness, fever, and cough. An extremely potent toxin, deadly at a very minimal level, is released into the respiratory system. A membrane develops in the throat that restricts breathing and swallowing and causes palate and throat paralysis, nerve damage, congestive heart failure, necrosis of the heart and liver, and finally death over a short period of 2-3 weeks. It was not common at that time to vaccinate children for this disease, although the vaccine was developed in 1890. Mom’s whole family was quarantined and given toxin anti-toxin as a preventive measure, and 7 children and their parents watched their little sister and youngest child die. Fortunately, no one else in the family developed diphtheria. I know vaccinating children (or the lack thereof) is a hot topic, but I seriously doubt anyone would want to see a loved one succumb to this easily preventable illness. If this isn’t an argument in support of vaccination, I don’t know what is. Thanks for reading.
    Pesticides are the cause of autism and other illnesses, not vaccines.

  4. Lois Reese says:

    First, my apologies for a long post, but it’s an important message. This isn’t a copy and paste deal, I wrote it.

    A few weeks ago, I researched diphtheria and discovered a great deal about it. My Mom’s youngest sister died at 12:00 a.m. December 26, 1940 at 4 years of age after a bout with diphtheria. It is a terrible disease, spread by mucus particulates (sneezing, coughing), primarily affecting young children. It resembles the common cold in the early stages, which inhibits diagnosis. Initial symptoms are a sore throat, swollen glands, weakness, fever, and cough. An extremely potent toxin, deadly at a very minimal level, is released into the respiratory system. A membrane develops in the throat that restricts breathing and swallowing and causes palate and throat paralysis, nerve damage, congestive heart failure, necrosis of the heart and liver, and finally death over a short period of 2-3 weeks. It was not common at that time to vaccinate children for this disease, although the vaccine was developed in 1890. Mom’s whole family was quarantined and given toxin anti-toxin as a preventive measure, and 7 children and their parents watched their little sister and youngest child die. If she had survived, she would’ve developed spinal meningitis and been paralyzed. Fortunately, no one else in the family developed diphtheria. I know vaccinating children (or the lack thereof) is a hot topic, but I seriously doubt anyone would want to see a loved one succumb to this easily preventable illness. If this isn’t an argument in support of vaccination, I don’t know what is. Thanks for reading.

  5. […] 6 year-old boy was admitted to the ICU in a Barcelona, Spain hospital after falling ill with  diphtheria. The boy was not […]

  6. […] a follow-up to the report of the first diphtheria case in Spain in 30 years, European health officials say the case in a 6-year-old highlights the challenge for preparedness […]

  7. […] an update to a report at the beginning of June, Spanish National Radio reports (computer translated) the 6-year-old boy from Olot with diphtheria […]

  8. […] the summer, Spain reported it’s first diphtheria case since 1986 and had to procure DAT from […]

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