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)
A total cumulative of probable diphtheria cases has reached 3,543 cases, with 203 associated deaths (a CFR rate of 5.7 per cent). As of 31 March, 22 governorates and 233 districts are reportedly affected by the diphtheria outbreak. Given the onset of diseases such as cholera, diphtheria and measles, UNICEF has continued to prioritize and expand on its immunization activities in Yemen. (UNICEF, 31 Mar 2019)
As of the end of June, there have been over 3,800 probable cases, with 214 associated deaths. (UNICEF, 30 Jun 2019)
Maps & Infographics
Most read reports
- WHO: WHO EMRO Weekly Epidemiological Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 44 (03 November 2019). 11 Nov 2019
- ACAPS: Access to Basic Needs in Yemen: Scenarios - Possible developments affecting Yemenis' access to basic needs and services in 2020. 7 Nov 2019
- OCHA: 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (January-December 2019) [EN/AR]. 19 Feb 2019
- OCHA: Yemen: Humanitarian Response Plan January-December 2018 [EN/AR]. 20 Jan 2018
- OCHA: Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 7 - 21 March 2019 | Issue 5 [EN/AR]. 24 Mar 2019
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.
1.1 Diphtheria Highlights
• According to MoPHP (3 February 2018), there are 943 probable diphtheria cases, including 62 associated deaths, in 157 districts among 20 governorates.
• The most affected governorates are Ibb (384) and Al Hudaydah (124). Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) is 6.5%. Children under the 5 years of age represent 19% of probable cases and 37% of deaths.
• Contacts traced by district RRTs in 10 governorates: 1303 (up to week 52), and 1,457 (weeks 1-4).
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.
1.1 Diphtheria Highlights
• According to MoPHP (27 January 2018), there are 849 probable diphtheria cases, including 56 associated deaths, in 143 districts among 19 governorates.
• The most affected governorates are Ibb (371) and Al Hudaydah (116). Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) is 6.6%. Children under the 5 years of age represent 19% of probable cases and 36% of deaths.
• Contacts traced by district RRTs in 10 governorates: 1303 (up to week 52), and 796 (weeks 1-3). • Weekly admissions to DIUs: 560 (up to week 52), 89 (week 1), and 63 (week 2).
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.
SHABWA, 22nd January, 2018 (WAM) -- The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has supplied the Haban Public Hospital in the Shabwa Governorate with a batch of medicines and medical supplies as part of its plan to ensure the provision of the necessary medical needs to Yemen's citizens.
Mohammed Saif Al Muhairi, Head of the ERC team in Shabwa, said that the ERC is intensifying its humanitarian work in Shabwa via the implementation of a series of development, food,m and medical aid to the residents of the governorate.
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
The Global Early Warning – Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report is part of FAO’s EWEA system, which aims to translate forecasts and early warnings into anticipatory action.