Facts about diphtheria

Protect your children now - vaccinate against vaccine preventable conditions.
Protect your children now - vaccinate against vaccine preventable conditions.

GREYTOWN Hospital and the KZN Department of Health are taking a proactive stance to inform the public about diphtheria – a few cases have been reported in KZN. The disease affects both children and adults.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious disease caused by a toxin (poison) made by bacteria. It causes a thick coating in the back of the nose or throat that makes it hard to breathe or swallow.

Symptoms of diphtheria

Diphtheria starts with a sore throat, mild fever and chills. Next, there is swelling of the throat followed by the diphtheria toxin making a thick coating on the back of the nose or throat and swelling of the neck. It may be white or greyish. The coating makes it hard to breathe or swallow.

How does diphtheria spread?

Diphtheria spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can spread the disease for up to two weeks after infection.

How to prevent diphtheria?

Through vaccination of children with diphtheria vaccine in combination with other vaccines (Pentavalent-Hexavalent) at the age of six weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks, 18 months, Td vaccine as booster dose at six years and 12 years. The vaccine is available for free in all the clinics. Doctors recommend that all children get the vaccine.

Who is susceptible to the conditions that will emphasize the prevention?

Any person who is not vaccinated against diphtheria can get the disease and diphtheria mostly affects children, but any age group can be affected.

What can be done should symptoms appear?

Go to a clinic for assessment. Protect your children now - vaccinate against vaccine preventable conditions.

For more information contact Mbali Ntshingila Public Relations Officer on 033 413 9230 or email sethabile.ntshingila@ kznhealth.gov.za

- Greytown Hospitalmanagement

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