Bangladesh: Diphtheria Outbreak - Dec 2017Ongoing
Diphtheria is rapidly spreading among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, WHO warned on 6 December 2017. More than 110 suspected cases, including 6 deaths, have been clinically diagnosed by health partners, including [MSF] and [IFRC]. (WHO, 6 Dec 2017)
The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of UNICEF, [WGO] and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, today launched a vaccination campaign against diphtheria and other preventable diseases for all Rohingya children aged 6 weeks to 6 years living in 12 camps and temporary settlements near the Myanmar border. Accelerated immunization will cover nearly 255 000 children in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts in Cox’s Bazar, while the Government and health partners continue to increase support for diphtheria treatment and prevention. (WHO, 12 Dec 2017)
From 3 November 2017 through 12 December 2017, a total of 804 suspected diphtheria cases including 15 deaths were reported among the displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar. The first suspected case was reported on 10 November 2017 by a clinic of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Cox’s Bazar.
Of the suspected cases, 73% are younger than 15 years of age and 60% females (the sex for one percent cases was not reported). Fourteen of 15 deaths reported among suspected diphtheria cases were children younger than 15 years of age. To date, no cases of diphtheria have been reported from local communities. (WHO, 13 Dec 2017)
WHO has released US$1.5 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to help finance scaling up of health operations in Cox’s Bazar over the next six months, in efforts to respond to an outbreak that has seen more than 1,500 probable cases, including 21 deaths. (WHO, 19 Dec 2017)
As of 19 December, some 1,841 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported, with 22 deaths. (WHO, 20 Dec 2017)
As of 26 December 2017, a total of 2,526 cases suspected with diphtheria have been reported with 27 deaths recorded. Over 220,000 children under the age of 15 has been vaccinated. (WHO, 27 Dec 2017)
As of 31 December, 28 deaths and 3,014 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported from Cox’s Bazar. Nearly 10,594 contacts of these suspected cases have been put on diphtheria preventive medication. (WHO, 2 Jan 2018)
As of 6 January 2018, a total of 3,523 cases clinically suspected with diphtheria and 58 laboratory confirmed cases (out of 185 cases tested) have been reported. 104 clinically suspected cases were admitted at diphtheria treatment facilities on 6 January 2018. A total of 30 deaths have been recorded so far. The last reported death was on 2 January. (WHO, 6 Jan 2018)
WHO and UNICEF are working with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to vaccinate over 350,000 children in the Rohingya camps and makeshift settlements with an additional dose of diphtheria vaccine. So far, 4,800 suspected cases of diphtheria and 35 deaths have been reported in Cox’s Bazar. Thirty-seven of the suspected cases were in host communities. (WHO & UNICEF, 28 Jan 2018).
As of 27 January 2018, a total of 4907 cases clinically suspected with diphtheria have been reported. Of these, laboratory specimen information was reported for 269 cases, 88 (32.7%) of which tested positive by PCR. A total of 35 deaths have been recorded as of 27 January. Reports of diphtheria have stabilized at 50-60 case-patients per day over the last 10 days which is consistent with diphtheria antitoxin use (WHO, 29 Jan 2018).
As of 10 February 2018, a total of 5,659 diphtheria case-patients were reported. A total of 38 deaths (case-fatality proportion <1%) were recorded as of 10 February. The last diphtheria related death occurred on 2 February. The second diphtheria vaccination campaign ended on 10 February, with 391 678 children up to 15 years immunized. (WHO, 15 Feb 2018).
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