Yemen: Diphtheria Outbreak - Nov 2017Alert
Diphtheria is making an alarming comeback in the war torn country, with 189 clinically diagnosed cases and 20 deaths – mostly children and young adults – in the last three months. Most diphtheria cases and deaths have been reported in Ibb governorate but the outbreak is spreading fast, already affecting 13 governorates. The closest points of entry to Ibb are in Sana’a and Hodeida, making it crucial that Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeida remain open. (WHO, 27 Nov 2017)
By 4 December, 318 suspected cases of diphtheria and 28 deaths had been reported in 15 of Yemen’s 20 governorates. Half the suspected cases are children between the ages of 5 and 14, and nearly 95% of deaths are children under 15. Nearly 70% of all suspected cases are in Ibb governorate. (MSF, 12 Dec 2017)
312 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported in Yemen between mid-August and 20 December. The outbreak has resulted in 35 deaths reported. At 11%, the case fatality rate (CFR) is high. 18 out of Yemen’s 22 governorates are affected, with Ibb having the majority of cases. (ACAPS, 22 Dec 2017)
As per the diphtheria report dated 24 December from the MoPHP, the suspected diphtheria cases are 381, including 38 associated deaths--the outbreak is currently affecting 18 governorates. As of week, 51--the vast majority of cases were reported from Ibb governorates (211) cases specifically from (Assadah, Yareem and Rural Ibb districts), followed by Al Hudaydah (38) cases, Aden (29) cases and Dhamar (19). Most of deaths cases were reported from Ibb (13 deaths) followed by Al Hudaydah (8 deaths), 3 deaths from Amran and Dhamar (2), Abyan (2) Aden (2), Taiz (3) and Hajjah (2), Aljawf (1) and, Sa'adah (1). Reported cases have made the first peak on week 38 (21 cases) and on week 44 (28 cases) onwards continued with more or less 20 cases, but started a sharp increase on week 48 (51 cases) followed by a decline to 38 cases on week 49. (WHO/UNICEF, 24 Dec 2017)
As of 22 January, Save the Children has teams on the ground operating in the hardest hit governorates, Ibb and Hodeidah, where it has set up treatment centers and isolation units to help stop and treat the deadly infection. (Save the Children, 22 Jan 2018)
As of 28 January 2018, Yemen is grappling with a spike in diphtheria, which has claimed 48 lives in the last two months. WHO reported on 11 January 2018 that diphtheria-related deaths had been recorded in 19 governorates. Across the country, 610 suspected cases have been reported. The diphtheria outbreak occurs against the backdrop of a cholera epidemic accounting for more than 2,200 lives lost and more than one million suspected cases reported, since April 2017. (OCHA, 28 Jan 2018)
Maps & Infographics
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6 February, 2018, Sana’a, Yemen – The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to use US$9.1 million from a new UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) grant to provide urgent health assistance to 630,000 vulnerable people in districts around Sana’a and al-Hudayda, including 189,000 internally displaced persons and 441,000 people from host communities.
22.2 million people in Yemen need assistance in 2018 – one million more than in June 2017.
The 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan seeks US$2.96 billion to assist 13.1 million people.
Diphtheria has killed 48 Yemenis in 19 governorates.
In 2017, the YHF allocated $129 m to 53 partners to implement 111 projects.
The world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis
Yemen is experiencing one of the world's largest, most complex humanitarian crises. Almost the entire population—22.2 million people—requires humanitarian assistance. Conflict has led to the internal displacement of over 2 million people, left 1.25 million public sector workers without pay for a year, and undermined access to ports and airports, obstructing essential humanitarian and commercial deliveries. In addition, 16 million people lack access to safe water and there are over 1 million suspected cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera.
A partial blockade of Yemen’s ports continued for much of December, limiting the import of much needed commercial and humanitarian supplies.
On 20 December, the Saudi-led coalition announced a 30-day window to allow food and fuel into the country via all ports including Al Hudaydah.
The scarcity of food and fuel commodities further worsened in December 2017 mainly due to the blockade and escalated conflicts and airstrikes. Governorates such as Taiz, Sa’ada, Sana’a, Al Hodieda,
Sana’a City, Hajja, Al Baidha, and Shabwa suffered the most from scarcity of essential commodities.
Negin Janati 203.212.0044 (M)
Erin Taylor 267.250.8829 (M)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (January 22, 2018)— The death toll from Yemen’s diphtheria outbreak is likely to rise if a Saudi-led naval blockade continues to prevent vital supplies from entering the country, Save the Children is warning.
THE HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN AT A GLANCE
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 1
Provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in Yemen through an effective, targeted response
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2
Ensure that all assistance promotes the protection, safety & dignity of affected people, and is provided equitably to men, women, boys and girls
Seventeen aid agencies working in Yemen are urging for the complete and unconditional opening of Hudaydah port to allow for the uninterrupted flow of food and fuel. A thirty-day concession period enabling the delivery of commercial supplies has brought only brief reprieve within the context of a sustained blockade on Yemen’s Red Sea Ports. Parties to Yemen’s conflict have a responsibility to minimise the impact of war on civilians in Yemen by mitigating all factors that exacerbate death and suffering, as over 8 million people are already on the verge of starvation.
• First commercial ships arrive at Al Hudaydah Port since November 6 port closures
• Diphtheria outbreak nears 600 suspected cases as of December 31
• Escalated violence in December results in at least 245 civilian deaths, displaces 25,000 people in western Yemen
Current major event
Health threats reported in 2017
In 2017, a variety of emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats were reported in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). Most of the threats began in 2016, including chikungunya in Pakistan, or were already endemic in the country, for example, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Afghanistan. However, new threats, such as diphtheria in Yemen, have also been observed this year.
Cholera Situation Update:
The cumulative total of suspected cholera cases reported since 27th April 2017, reached 1,005,207 as of 24 December 2017, with 2,229 associated deaths reported across the country, the overall case fatality rate is 0.22%.
In the past month, there has been progress in opening Yemen’s critical Red Sea ports to commercial fuel and food shipments as well as the resumption of humanitarian shipments and flights. However, I remain deeply concerned by the deterioration in the humanitarian situation – a catastrophe made worse by recent increases in fighting and airstrikes.
The spread of diphtheria - which can be prevented by vaccine - compounds widespread hunger and one of the worst cholera outbreaks ever recorded
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - At least 471 people in Yemen are believed to have been infected with diphtheria, killing one in 10 of them since the outbreak began in mid-August, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation
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