Health February 4, 2023 | 8:17 am

Four children admitted for diphtheria Robert Reid Cabral

Robert Reid Cabral Maternal and Child Hospital.

Four children of different ages have been diagnosed with diphtheria at the Robert Reid Cabral Hospital. Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease.

The children come from communities in Barahona and Duvergé.

They are children from two families in two distant communities, implying an active outbreak in both communities.

The hospital said the children range in age from two months to four years. Diphtheria is a severe bacterial infection that affects the nose and throat mucous membranes.

The disease occurs when vaccination schedules fail. The medical literature states that the condition can be treated with medication, and in advanced stages, it can damage the heart, kidneys, and nervous system. However, this disease can be fatal in children.

Signs and symptoms of diphtheria almost always begin two to five days after contracting the infection and may develop symptoms such as a thick, gray-colored membrane lining the throat and tonsils. When you have the disease, you may have a sore throat, hoarseness, and swollen glands in the neck—shortness of breath or rapid breathing, runny nose, fever, chills, and tiredness.

In 2021, the Ministry of Public Health issued an epidemiological alert due to the occurrence of diphtheria cases in different parts of the country. As of week 14, four have been confirmed.

By week 14 of the year 2021, eight deaths had been reported. In general, when cases occur, children have not been vaccinated or have incomplete doses.

In such situations, authorities urge the population to go to vaccination centers to follow up on the official vaccination schedule. The children admitted coming from Barahona and Pedernales. The provinces of Barahona and Independencia, belonging to the Enriquillo region, have reported several suspected cases of diphtheria and the death of a four-year-old child.

Donation of equipment
In another development, the Ministry of Public Health received a donation of US$160,000 from the Pan American Health Organization. The Government of the United States provided the funds. The donation consists of two waste management kits and two imaging kits.

They will be destined exclusively for mobile hospitals within the Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) program of the Risk Management Directorate.

The donation seeks to contribute to improving preparedness and response capacity.

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