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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Fatal Case of Diphtheria in Singapore

07 Aug 2017

The Singapore Ministry of HealthLink has reported a fatal case of diphtheria. The patient was a 21-year-old Bangladeshi construction worker who became unwell on 30 July. He was hospitalised on 1 August and died on 4 August. 

This is the first case of locally-acquired diphtheria in Singapore since 1992.

Advice to Travellers

Singapore is not usually considered a destination where there is a high risk of diphtheria so the following general advice applies.

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).

For futher information see Diphtheria