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Diphtheria in Bangladesh (Cox's Bazaar) (Update1)

03 Jan 2018

On 2 January 2018, media quoting local health authorities reported the number of suspected cases of diphtheria among Rohingya refugees has risen to about 2700 (including 27 deaths).

Previous reports have said congestion, low vaccination coverage and poor sanitation are assisting spread of infection. An infection control programme is underway.

Advice to Travellers

Ensure the British Vaccination Schedule is 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 endemic areas particularly where individuals will be mixing with the local population (e.g. health workers, teachers, volunteers).
  • Aid workers travelling to regions with confirmed diphtheria outbreaks, who are thus likely to be exposed to infection, should be given a booster dosedose of a diphtheria-containing vaccine if they have not had one in the last 12 months. 

For futher information see Diphtheria.