Diphteria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphteriae. It spreads through droplets from the air that we breathe. The bacteria infects the throat (tonsil and pharynx), causes inflammation to the throat area by producing toxins, causing swelling of the neck and further causes difficulty in breathing. The toxin may goes into the blood circulation, causing nerve inflammation and also heart muscles inflammation (myocarditis) which further leads to death.
Diphtheria infection has high death rate, which is 25 to 50%. Vaccine for diphtheria is given as a combination of 5 vaccines, DTaP-IPV//Hib (Difteria, Pertusis, Tetanus, Polio dan Haemophilus influenzae type b and is given at the age of 2,3,5 and 18 months. Immunization coverage of more than 95% in the community will give the herd immunity against the disease therefore, providing good protection for children from getting the disease. Fully immunized children will only present with mild symptoms if infected and are well protected from disease complications.
Hence, KKM would like to emphasize again on how important it is to get every child in the country to be fully vaccinated (including diphtheria vaccine) as to get protected from the Diphtheria infection and its complications. Parents who have not had their children vaccinated, are urged to hurriedly get the 5 combination vaccine as told. It is truly the responsibility of the parents to protect their children and safeguard them from the harmful diphtheria disease, its complication and the death it may bring.
Source: Director General of Health Blog
22 June 2016
Updated:: 04/05/2017 [syahid]
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Selangor Darul Ehsan