In a follow-up report on the diphtheria tragedy in Punjab province, Pakistan, local media reports since that 50 children have been admitted to the Children’s hospital in Lahore for the dangerous vaccine-preventable disease, including 18 fatalities.
The unavailability of diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) has been cited as the reason for the large increase in deaths. Officials are working on making arrangements for airlifting DAT from Croatia.
DAT has been out of stock since late October.
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. Vaccines are recommended for infants, children, teens and adults to prevent diphtheria.
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Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch
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