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Diphtheria takes 6th life in TN, health dept denies outbreak
Despite State health department’s claims that there is no Diphtheria outbreak in the State, the infection has claimed one more life.
A six-year-old girl died at the Institute of Child Health on Saturday and with it, the number of victims has risen to six in Tamil Nadu. According to senior officials of State health department, the total number of diphtheria cases in the State has touched 80.
More than 10 districts in Tamil Nadu, including Theni, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Madurai and Thiruvallur, have reported Diphtheria cases after the infection was first reported in Coimbatore. Even after more than 80 cases and five deaths were reported, health department officials said the infection is under control.
After eight cases of diphtheria surfaced in Sathyamangalam in Erode, the number reached more than 50 in the hilly regions in Coimbatore, including Talavadi, Puliyampatti and Kadambur. Two children succumbed to the infection in Sathyamangala, while four have died at ICH.
“Three children were from Andhra Pradesh, while another was from Chennai. There are many referral cases from Andhra Pradesh, who need tertiary care. Most of the patients are children below 16 years. They are being treated symptomatically and are kept under observation,” said Dr Jeyachandran, director, Institute of Child Health.
The health department has initiated immunization programme after the vaccination programme in schools and government hospitals. “The risk of Diphtheria was believed to be negligible and the infection seemed to have been eliminated as vaccinations were being done effectively. However, a large number of school-going children seemed to have missed the follow-up booster and this is why the infection seems to have returned. All those who have not received boosters should get vaccinated to avoid the risk,” said public health director, Dr K Kolandaisamy.