A child from Malaysia’s Selangor state has been diagnosed with the serious vaccine preventable disease, diphtheria, bringing the case tally in the country to 27.

Local media reports that the 3-year-old child had not been immunized against diphtheria, as the family practiced homeopathy treatment.

Malaysia health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said, “This child started experiencing fever, cough and vomiting since Aug 13. The patient was taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Thursday (August 18) due to shortness of breath, and was then admitted to the intensive care unit for treatment and close supervision.

“The culture of the patient’s throat swab tested positive for the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The patient received antitoxin treatment and is currently on antibiotics,” he said.

map of Malaysia

There has been five fatalities due to diphtheria in the country.

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.

Diphtheria can be prevented by vaccination.