Switzerland officials report that up to eight people living in a centre for asylum seekers in the capital of Bern, contracted diphtheria, according to a SwissInfo report.
The cases have been isolated and 175 people have been put in quarantine. Current cases have
not shown respiratory symptoms and two of the six cases have tested positive for the diphtheria toxin.
These are the first diphtheria cases reported in Switzerland since 1983.
Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxin (poison). Infection can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, kidney failure, paralysis, and even death.
Diphtheria skin infections are more common in tropical areas. They are not usually severe. However, people who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against diphtheria can develop serious respiratory diphtheria after touching the skin sores of someone with diphtheria skin infection.
Diphtheria rarely occurs in Western Europe, where children for decades have been vaccinated against the highly contagious infection of the nose and throat.
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