The number of confirmed diphtheria cases in Malaysia has risen to 14 after an additional case was reported a six-year-old boy from Kedah. According to Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the boy presented with a fever on June 26 and his condition worsened and he was placed on a ventilator.


He was transferred to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and was confirmed positive for diphtheria.

Noor Hisham noted the child was not up-to-date on his vaccinations.

Concerning the rise in measles cases in Malaysia this year, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the number of cases were up 340 per cent to 873 as of the first week of June, compared to 197 during the corresponding period last year.

This increase has health authorities concerned about the number of people refusing vaccinations and calls this “drastic upward trend” worrying.

In Selangor state alone, there were 1,541 cases of vaccine rejection in 2015, up from 918 in 2014 and 637 in 2013.

On Saturday, education minister Mahdzir Khalid had said that he hoped to enforce compulsory vaccination of school students this year or early next year. However,  Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said vaccination will not be made compulsory for the time being but there is a need to further educate parents on the importance of having their children immunized.