- This season’s first death due to diphtheria in Delhi has caused an alarm with doctors assessing their preparedness.
- This death took place in spite of the diphtheria vaccine is among the oldest vaccines in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme.
- Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria,a bacterium.The primary infection is in the throat and upper airways.Diphtheria is fatal in only 5-10% cases.
- Diphtheria particularly affects children aged 1 to 5 years. According to the National Health Portal,one type of diphtheria affects the throat and sometimes the tonsils.
- Another type causes ulcers on the skin which are more common in the tropics.In temperate climates diphtheria tends to occur during the colder months.
- In 1978,India had launched the Expanded Programme on Immunisation. The first three vaccines in the programme were BCG (against TB),DPT (diphtheria,pertussis,tetanus) and cholera.
- In 1985,the programme was converted to the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).DPT continues to be a part of UIP which now includes 12 vaccines.
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