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
Most read (last 30 days)
- Yemen: Humanitarian Response Plan January-December 2018 [EN/AR]
- Yemen Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 30 | 28 January 2018 [EN/AR]
- UNICEF Yemen Humanitarian Situation Report (December 2017) [EN/AR]
- Yemen: Children Bear the Brunt of Worst Diphtheria Outbreak for a Generation
- Humanitarian Action for Children 2018 - 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).
A critical shipment of medicines bound for a hospital in Hodeidah, Yemen, arrived this week, a sign that aid is resuming into the country. The shipment was coordinated with local aid group, Yemen Aid, and includes IV fluids, antibiotics and other items used to treat cholera. The shipment will bolster the Al-Thawra Hospital in Hodeidah, where Direct Relief is target efforts to help stem the tide of cholera. The hospital is one of many on the front lines of the epidemic.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 — Cases of cholera may have declined in Yemen, but the ongoing war and blockade are now creating a new threat to public health, as a suspected diphtheria outbreak takes hold.
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.
There were 6,552 suspected cholera cases and 1 associated deaths in week 49. No governorate reported a CFR higher than 1%.
Cumulative (27 April to 10 December 2017) total of 983,484 suspected cholera cases 2,225 associated deaths, and CFR of 0.23 %.
The national attack rate is 357.10 per 10,000. The five governorates with the highest cumulative attack rates per 10,000 are Amran, Al Mahwit , Al Dhale’e , Abyan , and Hajjah .
Children under 5 years old represent 28 % of total suspected cases.
Diphtheria is making an alarming comeback in Yemen, with 318 clinically-diagnosed cases and 21 deaths reported in 15 governorates in the last three months (3 December). Ibb remains the most affected governorate (67% of reported cases). A vaccination campaign started in the two worst-affected sub-districts, targeting 8500 children.