NICD sends out Diphtheria alert

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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has sent out an alert to clinicians throughout the country, to remain on high alert for patients presenting Diphtheria symptoms.

The NICD has recorded two positive cases of Diphtheria, one in KwaZulu-Natal and the second case in the Western Cape.

Diphtheria is an acute and contagious bacterial disease where a sheet of thick, grey matter covers the back of the throat, making breathing difficult.

The Institute’s Professor Anne von Gottberg says clinicians who suspect positive cases must notify them and send samples for laboratory testing.

“It’s a respiratory tract infection so it presents with mild fever, sore throat, maybe weakness, a swelling of the throat. Often, individuals and children will present with difficulty in breathing and an unusual cough. The awareness is not so much for individuals to try and identify that because that’s kind of non-specific. More for clinicians to be aware to consider this is their diagnosed.”