Yemen: Diphtheria Outbreak - Nov 2017Ongoing
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 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)
WHO reports that, as of 15 February 2018, the cumulative number of suspected diphteria cases is 1,085 with 66 associated deaths. 20 governorates and 162 districts have reported suspected cases. Ibb and Al Hudaydah are the most affected governorates. Children under the age of five years account for 30 per cent of suspected cases and for 47 per cent of dipheria associated deaths. (OCHA, 18 Feb 2018)
As of 14 April 2018, the local health authorities reported a total of 1,584 suspected diphtheria cases including 85 associated deaths (CFR=5.4%). The diphtheria outbreak has affected 195 districts from 20 governorates. At governorate level, Ibb and Sana'a are the most affected governorates. Children (<5 years of age) represent 20% of suspected diphtheria cases and 38% of associated deaths. The most affected age group is 5-15 years old representing 44 % of the cases. A cumulative total of 6,842 diphtheria contacts have been given preventative antibiotics, 142 during week 15. (WHO/Gov't of Yemen, 14 Apr 2018)
As of 24 June 2018, local health authorities confirmed a cumulative total of 1,907 suspected diphtheria cases, included 98 associated deaths with Ibb and Sana’a among the most affected governorates. Children between 5-15 years old are the most affected, representing 44% of all cases. (UNICEF, 30 Jun 2018)
The weekly number of probable diphtheria cases identified has remained generally stable over the past several weeks, according to the Yemen Ministry of Public Health and Population (MOPHP). Less than five new probable cases were confirmed during the last week of December 2018, according to the MOPHP. These levels are slightly lower than those reported over the previous month and are significantly lower than those observed since the peak of the outbreak in January 2018, when the number of probable cases identified approached or exceeded 100 cases per week. In terms of cumulative numbers, the governorates worst affected by the diphtheria outbreak include Ibb, Sana’a, Hajjah, and Al Hudaydah governorates. (FEWS NET, 17 Jan 2019)
Maps & Infographics
Most read reports
- Yemen Food Security Outlook December 2018 to May 2019
- WHO EMRO Weekly Epidemiological Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 52 (30 December 2018)
- Yemen: Humanitarian Response Plan January-December 2018 [EN/AR]
- "A living hell for children" - UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere remarks on the situation of children in Yemen
- “Some pregnant women and sick children arrive so late, we can’t save them”
Yemenis have bid farewell to 2017 with sad memories of crises and tragedies that happened throughout the year and affected lands and people in Yemen. However, we are receiving 2018 with a glimmer of hope in our hearts that peace will be achieved and all Yemenis will smile again.
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.
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%.
Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) summary for November 2017 covering mixed migration events, trends and data for Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia/Somaliland and Yemen.
Joint Statement on Yemen
WHO, WFP and UNICEF appeal for humanitarian access and an end to conflict, as 75 per cent of population now in need of urgent assistance
NEW YORK, 29 December 2017 – “We have passed the grim milestone of 1,000 days of war in Yemen. As violence has escalated in recent days, children and families are yet again being killed in attacks and bombardments.
As host to some of the world’s biggest emergencies, the Eastern Mediterranean Region carries the largest burden of people in need of aid, with more than 76 million people directly or indirectly affected by political conflict, environmental threats, and natural disasters.
A blockade of Yemen’s ports since 6 November has been preventing the import of much needed commercial and humanitarian supplies. The humanitarian situation is further compounded by a price inflation of basic commodities, impacting the purchasing power and increasing food insecurity.
Further escalation of the conflict during the reporting month has resulted in a worsening situation for children with 31 cases of children (27 boys; 4 girls) killed and 56 children (41 boys; 15 girls) maimed, both verified.
I remain deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in Yemen, where more than 22 million people need humanitarian assistance – 8.4 million of whom are already on the edge of starvation. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have continued and must stop. I am encouraged, however, by the news that the first commercial fuel imports into Hudaydah port since 6 November docked today, while commercial food imports that resumed in recent weeks have continued.
22 December 2017 – The total number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has crossed one million, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today, urging greater efforts to tackle the outbreak and deal with the deteriorating health situation in the war-torn nation.
“The epidemic is not yet over and more concerted efforts need to be deployed to ensure that it is controlled in the immediate term and prevented from reoccurring in the near future,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarevic told a press briefing in Geneva.
On 29 October 2017, the WHO team in Sana’a, Yemen received reports of suspected cases of Diphtheria from Ibb governorate. From 13 August through 21 December 2017, a total of 333 suspected cases including 35 deaths (case fatality ratio = 10.5%) have been reported from 20 governorates. In the absence of laboratory-confirmation, the current situation is being treated as an outbreak of suspected diphtheria based on clinical diagnosis.
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. Children aged 5-14 account for around 50% of suspected cases. About 90% of fatalities were reported in children aged less than 15.
SANA’A, 21 Dec 2017 – A World Health Organization-chartered aircraft carrying more than 70 tons of essential medicines and surgical supplies landed in Sana’a Airport today, the largest planeload delivered by WHO to Yemen this year.
The shipment contains trauma kits sufficient to meet the needs of 2000 patients requiring surgical care, as well as various types of rapid diagnostic tests and laboratory reagents to cover the urgent needs of central laboratories and blood banks.
SANA’A, 20 Dec 2017 –A UNICEF-chartered plane landed today in Sana’a and delivered nearly 6 million doses of essential vaccines to protect millions of children at risk of preventable diseases, including the current diphtheria outbreak that has reportedly infected over 300 people and killed 35. Most diphtheria cases and deaths are in children.
Yemen is being pushed ever closer to famine after 1,000 days of a brutal war, exacerbated by a crippling blockade of its key northern ports which is starving its people of food, fuel and medicine Oxfam warned today.
Some 90 per cent of Yemen’s food has to be imported and since a Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade of the country’s key northern ports more than a month ago, only over a third of the food its people need is coming in.
More than 7 million people are now at acute risk of famine.
Cholera Situation Update:
by Heba Kanso | @hebakanso | Reuters
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 23:14 GMT
By Heba Kanso
BEIRUT, Dec 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Yemen, ravaged by war, hunger and disease, is seeing a spike in diphtheria cases that will inevitably erupt into a larger, deadly outbreak because so few people have been immunized, aid officials said on Wednesday.
At highest risk are children, who account for many of the more than 280 suspected diphtheria cases and 33 associated deaths reported as of Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).