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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As of 19 December 2017, a total of 1841 cases suspected with diphtheria have been reported, of whom 109 presented at the treating health facilities on 19 December 2017. A total of 22 deaths have been recorded so far.
Vaccination started in Ukhia and Teknaf on 12 December for children under 7 with pentavalent, pneumococcal, and bivalent oral polio vaccines and on 17 December for children from 7 up to 15 years with tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine.
The Bangladesh emergency is a textbook refugee situation.
People fleeing Myanmar should not be forcibly returned. Return needs to be voluntary, safe, and dignified.
The Government of Bangladesh has generously opened its border for refugees entering the country.
International support continues to be needed to assist refugees and host communities.
UNHCR seeks to ensure that all refugees enjoy their rights on an equal footing. Refugees should be able to participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives.
By Francis Markus, IFRC
The radiologist opens the bamboo gate to the X-ray tent and four year old Nur Kolima heads gingerly in to lie down on the bed for his image to be taken. His mother, Fatima, is taking no chances with his cough symptoms.
“I had three children, but my little boy, aged 10 months died of fever,” she says with a blank expression.
- IOM and its partners are scaling up its Shelter and Non Food Items response through its distribution of over 88,500 blankets and emergency shelter, including bamboo bundles for over 1,500 families.
The Australian Government is deploying a team of medical experts to Bangladesh to survey health needs following an outbreak of highly contagious diphtheria in camps accommodating Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar.
The deployment of the medical team follows a request for urgent assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO). Since November, more than 1,300 people, including 1,000 children, in the camps are thought to have contracted diphtheria, which can cause death from extreme swelling of the throat.
What you need to know today
A total of 655,000 forcibly-displaced Myanmar nationals have entered Bangladesh since 25 August (Source: ISCG report, 19 December)
19 December 2017 – As the Rohingya refugee emergency in Bangladesh enters its fourth month, United Nations agencies are scaling up their relief work to respond to a range of issues, including outbreak of diphtheria, lack of access to sanitation and sexual violence.
655,000 Rohingya arrived from Myanmar into Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh between 25 August and 17 December. The influx has placed immense strain on basic services in the area. The population density is extremely high and there is a lack of adequate WASH facilities. There is therefore a high risk of the quick spread of disease. Over 1,300 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported between 8 November and 15 December.
A high number of diphtheria cases have been reported among Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. 1 474 suspected cases have been admitted to health facilities so far and 20 deaths have been confirmed among refugees.
According to the World Health Organisation, health facilities are unable to cope with the current situation, the number of beds is considered insufficient, and the disease risks spreading to host communities.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 19 December 2017 — The World Health Organization has deployed additional staff and resources to respond to a rapidly spreading outbreak of diphtheria among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
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.
• The humanitarian situation for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remains dire, with some 655,000 refugees newly arrived since 25 August 2017. At least 58% of them are children. Even if the pace of arrivals has slowed down, thousands of refugees continue to arrive every week, adding pressure on already heavily stretched resources on the ground.
The first cases of Diphtheria are thought to have occurred on 8 November 2017. Since then, there has been an increase in suspected cases centred around Balukhali camp, but also spreading throughout camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf. As of 15th December, the total number of cases is as follows:
Since 25 August, more than 655,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar and crossed into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Not only has the pace of new arrivals made this the fastest growing refugee crisis, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world.
212,000 Rohingya estimated to be in Cox’s Bazar before the August influx
655,000 New arrivals as of 17 December 2017
867,000 Total number of Rohingya refugees estimated to be in Cox’s Bazar.
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Nearly four months into the Rohingya refugee crisis, UNHCR is increasingly worried about the deterioration of the overall protection environment in which refugees are living. In this environment, refugees face a multitude of protection risks.
What you need to know
646,000 people have arrived since 25 August
10,000 crossed the border in the past week
1.2 million require immediate humanitarian assistance, including earlier arriving Myanmar nationals and vulnerable members of host communities
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 (Figure 1). The first suspected case was reported on 10 November 2017 by a clinic of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Cox’s Bazar.
UNHCR issued a statement on the return arrangement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, stressing that conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns.
The trend of new arrivals has considerably decreased with least 270 people crossing into Bangladesh so far in December, compared with 20,000 in November.
There is currently an outbreak of diphtheria among refugees in Cox’s Bazar. UNHCR has made its Transit Centre available to serve as a treatment and isolation facility
12 December 2017, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of UNICEF, the World Health Organization 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.