DOH notes spike of diptheria cases, cites low vaccination coverage

By Karlo Antonio Manaytay

The Department of Health (DOH) has noted a spike of diphtheria cases in other parts of the country. It noted the low vaccination coverage as the leading cause.

On Tuesday, DOH said several regions have already reported a spike of diphtheria in their respective area of responsibility.

DOH medical specialist Anthony Calibo had informed a Senate committee hearing that “several cases of diphtheria had emerged in some regions of the country.

There is a lack of diphtheria anti-toxin, he noted, saying it is “an important management for those diagnosed with diphtheria.”

“The statistics is clearly alarming,” Calibo said.

Low vaccination coverage is the leading cause of the re-emergence of the disease, the DOH Epidemiology Bureau said.

The vaccination program suffers lack of personnel, the bureau added.

An infectious disease caused by bacteria, diphtheria causes a thick covering called “pseudomembranes” to develop at the back of the throat. This thick covering causes difficulty in breathing.

A severe case of diphtheria can weaken the muscles of the heart that may lead to heart failure.

The DOH had recorded a total of 55 diptheria cases in 2018 with 13 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the disease could be prevented by vaccination. Newborn babies in the Philippines receive three doses of DPT vaccine.

The immunization program is important, Calibo stressed.

“It looks into really effective monitoring systems…providing timely technical assistance to local government units,” he said. (Karlo Antonio Manaytay-Mindanao Sun/ Featured Image: Pixabay)

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