Health Department urges parents to schedule children for Diphtheria vaccines

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The National Health Department is urging parents to schedule their children for the Diphtheria vaccine if they have not already done so.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has recorded two positive cases of Diphtheria disease. The first case was detected in an adult in KwaZulu-Natal and the second in a child in the Western Cape.

Diphtheria is an acute and contagious bacterial disease.

Department of Health Spokesperson, Foster Mohale, says: “Diphtheria is an uncommon, but vaccine-preventable serious infection caused by a toxin-producing bacterium called Corynebacterium diphtheria, which may lead to difficulty in breathing, heart rhythm problems, and even death. The bacteria spread from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. The symptoms of diphtheria include sore throat and swollen glands in the front of the neck. Close contacts of known cases are at increased risk of infection. Routine diphtheria vaccination is part of the childhood vaccine programme and parents are encouraged to get their children vaccinated.”