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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Cutaneous Diphtheria in Austria (ex Sri Lanka)

05 Jan 2017

On 1 January 2016 ProMedMailLink reported a case of cutaneous (skin) diphtheria in a 60 year old Austrian man. The case presented to hospital in Austria on 22 December 2016 following his return from a month long holiday in Sri Lanka.

The man showed signs of infection in skin near his fingernail and several swabs tested positive for diphtheria.

Advice to Travellers

Ensure British Vaccination Schedule complete including booster doses as teenagers.

Travellers should be aware of:

  • Persistence of disease in many regions of the world to which unvaccinated individuals are susceptible.
  • Waning immunity from diphtheria vaccine with increasing age.
  • Ten-yearly boosters of vaccine should be given for travel to epidemic/endemic areas particularly where individuals will be mixing with the local population (e.g. health workers, teachers, volunteers).