Confirmed case of diphtheria as 6-year-old admitted to hospital

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US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Flickr


A CHILD who was taken into Vall d’Hebron hospital, Barcelona is currently in the intensive care unit suffering from diphtheria. This is the first confirmed case of the highly infectious disease on Spanish soil since 1986.
Catalonian health authorities have said that the little boy had not received his vaccinations, reportedly because his parents were against the practice.
Diphtheria is an airborne disease, and can be spread through direct contact, setting off severe respiratory problems. Statistics reveal that one out of every 10 patients dies from complications formed in the early stages, and those most at risk are children under five and adults over 60.
But free vaccination programmes had seen off the disease, and Spanish authorities had to look abroad for drugs to treat the young patient. In the early hours of Monday morning, the Russian ambassador to Spain brought the drug via plane from Moscow to Barcelona. More doses were expected to follow Tuesday night time.
According to the Spanish Vaccine Society, Spain has supplied and covered more than 90 percent of the population with the diphtheria vaccination. The vaccinations currently available do provide protection against the effects of the toxin that the bacterium produces, but do not protect against the actual infection
Rubén Moreno General, secretary for the health service, Rubén Moreno said: “The consequences of not vaccinating a child can be dramatic. The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide.”


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