Health Desk: 02 January 2018: There has been no reported diphtheria case in Bangladesh for the last 35 years. But the highly contagious disease, long forgotten in most part of the world due to increased vaccination, has made a sudden comeback.
Diphtheria transmission occurs from person to person through droplets such as coughing and sneezing and close physical contact. It can be treated by drugs and prevented by the vaccine. Symptoms include a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to difficulty in breathing, heart failure, paralysis and even death.
The first case of the latest outbreak was reported in November in a Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar.
District Civil Surgeon Abdus Salam said, since then, 27 Rohingya children have died after contracting the bacterial disease. Another 2,700 living in camps in Ukhia and Teknaf have been infected.
Five Bangladeshi children have also contracted the disease, but are recovering. Aged seven and below, the victims are from Ukhia and they all visited nearby Rohingya camps.
Alarmed, the Bangladesh government and international organizations have started a mass vaccination programme in and around the camps.