Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Malaysia - First adult diphtheria case in Malaysia detected
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has recorded its first adult diphtheria case in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. The victim is a 41-year-old housewife who came down with fever last Monday and complained of swollen tonsils, hoarseness and difficulty in swallowing.
Health director general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the patient received treatment at the Rembau Health Clinic on July 13. "She was suspected of having contracted diphtheria, and was then referred to the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital, where she was warded for isolation and treatment," he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said she was diagnosed with the disease on July 16. However, her condition is reported to be stable." He said that the case is considered to be an isolated one.
Those who had been in contact with the patient, such as family members and health personnel have already received appropriate treatment.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said an eight-year old boy was admitted to the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital for suspected diphtheria.
“The patient had suffered from fever and sore throat since July 13. His face and neck were also swollen. We have yet to receive the lab reports, but currently the patient is reported to be stable and has already been given anti-toxin treatment,” he said.
The latest development brings the total number of diphtheria cases nationwide to 15, five of which were fatal. Seven cases were reported at Kedah with one death; three in Malacca with one death, four in Sabah with three deaths; and one in Negri Sembilan.
On diphtheria cases among adults, Dr Noor Hisham said the Corynebacterium diphtheria bacteria could infect both adult and children’s throats. “When an individual’s health status is not optimal, there is a possibility that the bacteria canmultiply and trigger symptoms.
“The disease could be spread through respiratory droplets and may pose a risk to others, mainly children who are not vaccinated or with incomplete vaccination as their immune system isn’t strong.
“I strongly urge parents to ensure children below the age of seven to have completed the five doses of DTaP vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) to provide them with optimum protection against the infections.
“Proactive measures would increase the child’s as well as adults' immune system, thus curbing the spread of diphtheria,” he said.
Beatrice Nita Jay