Diphtheria Alert Issued for Diphtheria Deaths
At least eight children and adolescents have died, of the ten admitted with diphtheria at the Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital since January 17 to date, due to an outbreak unleashed in different communities, especially Yamasá, Monte Plata, and San Cristóbal.
The situation prompted the Ministry of Public Health to issue an epidemiological alert due to cases.
Even though it is a vaccine-preventable disease, those affected range from two to 14 years; the last patient was admitted to the health center on Wednesday night. Of the 10 cases that have been admitted, eight have died, one was discharged, and another is still hospitalized.
Diphtheria is an acute infection caused by bacteria, which mainly affects the nose and throat. It manifests as a sore throat and hoarseness, the development of a thick and gray membrane covering the throat and tonsils, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, runny nose, fever, chills, and general malaise.
It spreads quickly and is prevented by a vaccine such as (DPT) which is part of the DR’s national vaccination scheme. Risk factors include lack of vaccination, crowded environments, and poor hygiene.
By date of admission
According to hospital admission records, on January 17, a nine-year-old girl from Baní was admitted, who died; On January 22, a 14-year-old boy from the community of Los Cocos, Neiba, also died, and on February 1, a three-year-old boy from La Toma de San Cristóbal, who also died.
Another who died was a three-year-old boy admitted to the hospital on February 6, from Yamasá, in Monte Plata; the only one who has recovered and was discharged to date was a two-year-old boy from La Toma, San Cristóbal, who entered the health center on February 9. That same day a seven-year-old girl from La Luisa, Yamasá, was hospitalized and died.
On February 17, a 10-year-old boy from Yamasá, Monte Plata, died; On March 24, a five-year-old boy was admitted from Km24 of the Duarte Highway, who died; On April 1, a three-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital from Yamasá, also deceased, and on April 4, an 11-year-old boy was admitted from Peralvillo, Las Guabas, Yamasá, who is admitted.
Among the Robert Reid Cabral hospital’s health personnel, there is a lot of concern since the children arrive in deplorable health conditions, which prevents their recovery. They attribute it to the lack of immunization.
In March 2018, the panic was generated in the country in large part of the population that crowded the vaccination posts to be immunized against diphtheria due to a four-year-old boy from Haiti who entered with symptoms.
In 2020, 3 confirmed cases were notified to the National Epidemiological Surveillance System.