The diphtheria epidemic kills about fifty people in eastern and central Guinea

The diphtheria epidemic kills about fifty people in eastern and central Guinea

According to the World Health Organization (from(The Guinean Ministry of Health notified it on September 5 of the diphtheria outbreak. From July 4 to October 13, 2023, 538 cases were reported in the Kankan region of east-central Guinea, it detailed.from.

Of the total cases reported, there are 520 suspected cases and 18 confirmed cases with 58 deaths, including 13 confirmed cases (fatality rate for all cases, 11%). The age group from 1 to 4 years constituted the largest proportion of reported cases.

Sigiri Prefecture is the most affected, with 510 cases (95%). Of the 363 patients admitted to Sigiri treatment centres, 37 (10%) died. Other provinces that reported cases are Mandiana (13 cases), Cancan (13 cases) and Corusa (2 cases). Of the 15 patients admitted to the Kankan Treatment Center, 12 (80%) died.

According to the UN agency, the country’s treatment centers do not have the capacity in terms of human and material resources to manage cases appropriately. Suspected and confirmed cases were treated with amoxicillin and azithromycin as first-line treatment. Antibiotic prophylaxis (amoxicillin, azithromycin) was given to direct contacts.

The World Health Organization does not call for travel restrictions

Diphtheria is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease caused primarily by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae and can be fatal in 5 to 10% of cases, with a higher mortality rate in young children.

The disease can be treated with diphtheria antitoxins and antibiotics. Vaccination against diphtheria has significantly reduced the mortality and morbidity of the disease.

The World Health Organization said: “In areas where access to anti-diphtheria is limited, the mortality rate can reach 40%.”

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According to the UN agency, vaccination coverage against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis toxoid (DTP3) reached 47% in 2022 in Guinea and has remained below 50% since 2014. It warned against protecting the community, noting that the risk of diphtheria is high in Guinea, given the low Chronic vaccination coverage.

Furthermore, WHO does not recommend general restrictions on travel or trade with Guinea based on the information available for this event.

Although travelers are not particularly at risk of contracting diphtheria, national authorities are recommended to remind travelers to areas where diphtheria is endemic to be appropriately vaccinated, in accordance with each country’s national vaccination programme, before their departure. For the UN agency, a booster dose is recommended if more than five years have passed since the last dose.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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