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Diphtheria death toll rises to 18 in Delhi, know possible causes and symptoms

Latest By Varsha Vats , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Sep 24, 2018
Diphtheria death toll rises to 18 in Delhi, know possible causes and symptoms

Eighteen children died due to diphtheria in the capital. Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. It is a communicable disease and can spread very easily.

The numbers of children dying due to diphtheria are increasing day by day in the city. Earlier twelve such cases were reported, now they have increased to eighteen.

North Delhi Mayor Adesh Gupta has set up a panel to look into the death cases. A senior official of New Delhi Municipal Corporation looked into the figures provided by the medical superintendent of the hospital and quoted, "a total of 18 children have died at the civic hospital so far, 17 of the patients were from outside Delhi and only one belonged to Delhi."  

Most of the patients belonged to the age group of up to 9 years. Mr. Gupta had claimed that the hospital had all the required treatment facilities to handle such cases but the patients were admitted at the advanced stage hence, could not respond to the treatment on time and died early.

Also read: How to Keep your New-born Safe this Monsoon

What is Diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. It is a communicable disease and can spread very easily.

Diphtheria requires medical treatment with intensive care because if left untreated it can cause severe damage to your kidneys, nervous system, and heart.  

What causes diphtheria?

Diphtheria is caused after the bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheria spreads in a person’s body. It is contagious and can spread through direct contact or through the air. Contaminated objects can also lead to the spread of the disease. If you are around an infected person when they sneeze, cough, or blow their nose you may get diphtheria. Some people carry the bacteria without having any sign and symptom, but can still spread the disease to others. The bacteria most commonly infect your nose and throat. After the occurrence of infection, the bacteria release dangerous substances called toxins. The toxins spread through the bloodstream and often form a thick gray coating on the nose, throat, tongue and airway.

Symptoms of Diphtheria

Symptoms of diphtheria often appear within two to five days after the infection. Some people do not experience any symptoms while others have mild signs like a sore throat, common cold and cough.

Other symptoms after the progression of the disease may include:

  • difficulty in breathing and swallowing
  • chills and fatigue
  • rashes and ulcers on various body parts
  • swelling of lymph nodes
  • weakness
  • change in vision
  • feeling of uneasiness

Also read: Is It Okay to Give Pacifier to your Baby?

Prevention of Diphtheria

Diphtheria can be prevented with the use of antibiotics and vaccines. The vaccine for diphtheria is called DTaP which is usually given between the ages of 2 months to 6 years.

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