Venezuela: 3 diphtheria cases confirmed in Bolívar State


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head of the Bolivar’s country Thursday 9 March, the Public Health Institute Manuel Moreira confirmed that three cases of diphtheria were confirmed in that entity, specifically in the municipality of Sifuentes.


The diagnoses were confirmed by the National Institute of Hygiene.

“We immediately activated all the lockdown, immunization and vaccination equipment to dramatically increase coverage,” Moreira said.

Diphtheria re-emerged in Venezuela in mid-July 2016, 24 years after it was eradicated in the country. The first cases were registered at that time, as in 2023, in the municipality of Sifuentes, in the state of Bolivar. Between 2018 and 2019, 939 confirmed cases were recorded and reported to the Pan American Health Organization. In 2020, the number of cases dropped to five due to prevention and vaccination efforts.

On February 27, the Directorate of Immunization of the Ministry of Health issued an epidemic alert across the country to increase vaccination coverage against preventable diseases, with an emphasis on diphtheria.

The Ministry of Health asked to increase the vaccination program for families from children under the age of one year to people over the age of 50, as well as pregnant women and health workers. In the country, a shot against diphtheria is included in the pentavalent (DTP3) vaccine, which also protects against tetanus, whooping cough, polio, and type B meningitis.

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It also called on the Ministry of Health to implement active searches for cases at the community and institutional levels, as well as follow up on cases, implement procedures in health centers to prevent diseases transmitted by air, and train health personnel in clinical management. . health.

Diphtheria is a disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria, which mainly affects the throat and upper respiratory tract, producing a toxin that affects other organs. It is transmitted through direct physical contact or inhalation of coughed or sneezed secretions from infected individuals. Symptoms include a sore throat, mild fever, and swollen glands in the neck.

Diphtheria causes a film of dead tissue to build up over the throat and tonsils, making breathing and swallowing difficult. In severe cases, the poison can cause myocarditis or peripheral neuropathy.

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