In EU/EEA countries, 281 cases of diphtheria were confirmed through TESSy from January 2022 to 11 August 2023 (for comparison: an average of 55 cases were reported annually between 2017 and 2021). A total of 224 cases were reported in 2022, 57 cases so far in 2023 (according to the EU case definition), including four deaths.
ECDC noted during the summer of 2022 that most cases were diagnosed in migrant-related facilities (Germany, Switzerland) in 2022. ECDC has no information that infection has been introduced into the general population of EU/EEA countries since these cases.
From January 2022 to August 11, 2023, cases of diphtheria were reported by Germany (206), Belgium (37), the Czech Republic (10), Slovakia (9), the Netherlands (9), Sweden (5), Latvia (3), Norway (1) and Spain (1). The two deaths reported in 2023 occurred in Belgium and Latvia. In 2022, one death was reported in Germany and one in Slovakia. The age range of the cases is 0 to 92 years. A total of 228 cases were caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae and 53 cases by Corynebacterium ulcerans .
Of the 228 cases caused by C. diphtheriae, 199 persons had the cutaneous form of diphtheria, 18 persons had the respiratory form, three persons had both the cutaneous and respiratory forms, and three persons had the nasal form of diphtheria. Five cases had a different clinical presentation or information on the clinical presentation was missing. Of the deaths, three were attributed to infection C. diphtheriae and one C. ulcerans, of which the respiratory form of the disease was described in two deaths and the skin form of the disease in one. A different clinical picture was described in one fatal case.
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