Diphtheria kills 12 children in 13 days in two Delhi govt. hospitals

New Delhi: At least 12 children have died in 13 days — between September 6 and 19 — of diphtheria in two government hospitals in Delhi.
Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
Eleven children have died in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital and one child died in the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital.
Of the 300 cases reported so far this year, 85 people were admitted with the bacterial infection at the Valmiki Hospital from September 1 to September 19, hospital authorities said. Valmiki hospital specialises in treating infectious diseases.
“It is not unusual for cases of diphtheria to spike around this time of the year. In fact, the total deaths this year so far are fewer than the previous year, ” said Dr SK Gupta, medical superintendent of Valmiki hospital.
Last year, 120 cases were reported in the month of September, out of 550 cases during the entire year. Seventy people had succumbed to the disease, of which 15 had died in September.
Till September 19 this year, 30 children between the age of one and nine years have died in the hospital. Eleven of the deaths took place between September 1 and September 19.
Most of the admitted children were from outside Delhi, from areas of western Uttar Pradesh, like Khurja and from Bulandshahr district and Muzaffarnagar. Of the 11 deaths , only one child belongs to Delhi.
The disease is preventable as there is a vaccine that government provides free under its universal immunization program.
Three doses at 1.5 months, 2.5 months and 3.5 months are to be given and a booster shot at 1.5 years to prevent catching the infection.

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