SOUTH AFRICA – A diphtheria outbreak has been declared at South Africa’s Pollsmoor Maximum Prison following the death of a 19-year-old inmate.
BBC reported that Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, revealed that the male inmate, who contracted the disease last month, died on Sunday.
He indicated that eight more inmates, aged 18 to 23, were in isolation after testing positive to the disease.
“Two staff members who displayed symptoms are awaiting their results,” according to Phaahla.
He, however, mentioned that a vaccination drive in the affected section of the prison was under way.
It is a vaccine-preventable but highly contagious bacterial disease that affects the nose and throat and also causes skin ulcers.
It is spread by coughs and sneezes or through close contact with an infected person, and in serious cases can be fatal.
South Africa has only recorded sporadic diphtheria cases since it started immunising against the disease in the 1950s, according to the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Nigeria is currently battling one of its worst diphtheria outbreaks, which has killed more than 600 people and infected over 14,000.
WARNING! All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express permission from ZAMBIA MONITOR.