Flood-Drown Sindh Struggles with Diphtheria Outbreak


by Naba Batool

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According to the latest reports, Sindh is struggling with a deadly bacterial strain, diphtheria, that is claiming fatalities in children. The province has reported 10 casualties in the span of two months because of the aggressive spread of this disease.

Health authorities have raised warnings regarding the rise of waterborne diseases in the region due to flood disasters. The diphtheria outbreak is a growing concern in the province due to its vaccine-preventable nature.

Dr Irshad Memon who is the Project Director of the Expanded Program on Immunization said in a press release that “So far 10 children have lost their lives due to diphtheria in Sindh while 39 cases have been confirmed in the province.”

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial strain that is caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. It is characterized by heart problems and erratic breathing which ultimately leads to death.

Dr Asad Ali who is a senior pediatric infectious expert said that there were previous warnings of potentially water-borne diseases in the flood-affected regions.

This also calls for a proper disease assessment and vaccine drive in the region. He said that “We need outbreak investigation, higher rates of routine childhood immunisation and additional booster Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) vaccine in our EPI programme.”

The health officials also claim that the reported number of cases is less than the originals and are not being catered to with utmost caution and care.

Pakistan and especially Sindh also lacks premium healthcare facilities which are also adding fuel to the fire. Many countries have successfully erased diphtheria but in Pakistan, the disease still prevails in some cities due to a lack of attention to children's immunity at birth.