Yemen – Diphtheria and Cholera (DG ECHO, WHO, Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 8 December 2017)
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.
Diphtheria is considered endemic in Yemen. Given the volatile political and security situation, the rolling out of a mass vaccination is jeopardized by the lack of vaccines, a collapsed health system and limited humanitarian access. Unless a comprehensive containment response plan is possible, it is likely that the diphtheria outbreak will spread. 978 129 suspected cholera cases and 2 224 associated deaths have been reported across the country between 27 April and 6 December 2017. At this pace, the number of cholera cases will reach one million before the end of the year. With the rainy season coming up (March-June), there are fears that the cholera outbreak might again spiral out of control.