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IOM Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response - Diphtheria Response Plan (17 December 2017)

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Background

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:

  • 1,326 suspected cases since 8th November;
  • 141 new patients on 15th December;
  • 19 deaths reported;
  • 76% of reported cases under 15 years old;
  • Cases reported across several camps, including in Teknaf;
  • Under-reporting expected due to low health-seeking behavior among the population, potential misdiagnosis of mumps and limited visibility on clear case definition.

Key challenges associated with the response to the Diphtheria outbreak include low vaccination coverage amongst the Rohingya population, limited treatment capacity, insufficient global supply of Diphtheria anti-toxins, and necessary isolation, infection prevention and control procedures requiring additional resources. IOM is scaling-up its response to the outbreak in a number of areas including Risk Communication, Contact Tracing, Case Management, Vaccination, Coordination and Health System Support.

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