Odisha Diphtheria cases: Government intensifies surveillance after 6 die | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Odisha Diphtheria cases: Government intensifies surveillance after 6 die

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jun 21, 2024 07:48 PM IST

State public health department officials said that so far six kids have succumbed to Diphtheria in Rayagada and Koraput districts

Bhubaneshwar: Odisha government has intensified surveillance and containment measures after cases of Diphtheria were recorded in three of its underdeveloped districts, killing six kids and affecting 15 more over a period of a month, officials said.

 (Representative Photo)
(Representative Photo)

State public health department officials said that so far six kids have succumbed to Diphtheria in Rayagada and Koraput districts.

Diphtheria, a bacterial infection caused by strains of a bacterium called ‘Corynebacterium Diphtheria’, affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. The disease can lead to breathing, heart rhythm problems and even death. It is characterised by symptoms of swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in the neck, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, nasal discharge and fever. 

“The first five deaths were reported from Manuspadar village in Kashipur block of Rayagada district while the sixth death was reported from a village in Koraput,” said Nilakantha Mishra, director of public health. 

He said that after the fifth death, samples were sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre for testing, which confirmed Diphtheria.

The sixth case was reported after a 10-year-old boy from Koraput district, who was receiving treatment at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital (MCH) in Berhampur, died. “...We are treating all deaths as due to Diptheria,” said Mishra.

He added that the state government is planning to conduct genome sequencing of the Diphtheria cases and antibody tests on affected individuals. Odisha last reported Diphtheria two decades ago. In 2018, Delhi witnessed a Diphtheria outbreak in which 25 children died in September, followed by 22 in October and 12 in November.

Rayagada district collector Manoj Mahajan said a prophylactic dose of antibiotic has been given to all susceptible persons in the community and a booster dose of Diphtheria vaccine is being given to all kids in the district. As part of a special drive, children aged below one year are being administered pentavalent vaccines, while those aged between one and seven are being administered single-dose Diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus (DPT) vaccines. And, children above seven years are being given tetanus and diphtheria (TD) doses, said Mahajan, adding that the administration has set up containment zones in three villages in Rayagada district.

Health department officials said blood samples of suspected Diphtheria patients are being collected for testing and admitting suspected Diphtheria patients to hospitals. Medical colleges in Bhawanipatna, Koraput, and Berhampur have been put on alert.

A five-bed special ward has been established at MKCG Medical College in Berhampur for the treatment of Diphtheria patients, and active surveillance is being done in 10 villages located inside the Indravati reservoir from where the outbreak likely originated, said the health official.

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