Diphtheria on rise in Telangana

By V Naveen Kumar | THE HANS INDIA |   Sep 14,2017 , 03:00 AM IST


Hyderabad:  Non-availability of anti-toxin medicines and inadequate DPT (diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus) vaccine coverage for diphtheria has put the children below 14 years on high risk in Telangana. 

According to PHC sources, around 50 per cent cases of diphtheria have not been getting treatment due to non-availability of doctors, failure in clinical detection and dearth of microscopes for confirmation of the disease. With the delay in detecting the disease, the bacteria would attack heart and brain. Once the heart (diphtheria myocarditis) is affected, it is almost irreversible and leads to death.  

A senior doctor at the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) said the Cardiology department is in need of more number of temporary pacemakers and 2D echo machines especially for diphtheria patients. He recalled an incident where a patient died because of scarcity of temporary pacemaker and 2D echo.

“There is a need of special isolation ward for treating diphtheria patients. During the past three years, around 80 deaths occurred due to diphtheria myocarditis,” he said. Dr KMK Reddy, head of the Cardiology Department at OGH told The Hans India that diphtheria cases as well as the deaths have been on the rise during the past few years. The OGH Cardiology Department had conducted a study on diphtheria myocarditis in 2016 to prevent such deaths. The study found that out of 28 cases reported 14 died. 

“None of the 28 patients was adequately immunized. Twelve children didn’t even receive primary doses. Sixteen children had not received booster doses,” said the study.Dr Shankar, Superintendent of Fever Hospital, said once the DPT vaccination is properly administered, diphtheria will not occur.

“Every 10 years, children have to take one booster dose. “Cases are increasing as the winter season is more vulnerable to diphtheria,” he said.  As many as 11 children died since July. At Fever Hospital, out of 250 patients admitted, 26 deaths occurred in 2016, while 7 deaths were reported during 2017 till September.

Mohammad Arshad Ali, a tailor of Hyderabad, said his 14-year-old daughter, Mubeen Begum, was admitted in Fever Hospital on September 5. She was later shifted to OGH’s Cardiology Department. She continues to be in critical condition as she was not administered the vaccine till date, he alleged.

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