Diptheria alert in AustraliaPosted By kgd on May 9, 2011 at 11:55am | notices
Return of a killer – Diphtheria in Australia
Thursday, 5 May, 2011
Queensland Health is alerting general practitioners to the first case of respiratory diphtheria acquired in Australia since 1993. A 22 year old woman has died of confirmed diphtheria on 30 April 2011. She was known to be unvaccinated and had no history of overseas travel. However, it is thought that she may have acquired the disease form contact with an overseas traveller.
Before vaccination became available in 1932 diphtheria was a major cause of illness and death in Australasia, but thereafter the rates of infection plummeted to virtually zero. New cases are usually from immigrants or unvaccinated people returning from countries where immunisation rates are not as yet at a high level – which includes the independent States of the former Soviet Union. In countries like Australia diphtheria vaccination is given routinely together with tetanus vaccinations in infancy, and the tetanus vaccine given to adolescents at school or to adults when injured all contain the diphtheria vaccine as well. Although recent recommendations regarding tetanus immunisation have relaxed the “10 year rule” it is wise for adults travelling overseas to have a booster vaccination of the combined tetanus/diphtheria vaccine if it has been 10 years or more since the previous one. Current recommendations are for the newer preparations that also include the adult pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.
Communicated by: TMVC Health alerts
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Posted by kgd