Kochi: One dies of diphtheria; two cases doubtful

Deccan Chronicle.

Lifestyle, Health and Wellbeing

Health dept steps up preventive measures.

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KOCHI: A teenager has died and two cases of suspected diphtheria have been reported from the district indicating that the deadly disease has resurfaced after a break. A 16-year-old boy, hailing from Assam, who was visiting his relatives at Thrikkakara died of suspected diphtheria on April 20 at Thrissur government medical college. “Though the hospital authorities have confirmed it as a death due to diphtheria, we are waiting for the laboratory results from a public health lab in Thiruvananthapuram,” said District Medical Officer Dr. N.K Kuttappan.

Two other suspected cases, a six-year-old boy from Vazhakulam and an 18-year-old from Kaloor, have been reported from the district and the patients have been admitted to Medical Trust Hospital and Aster Medcity. The migrant teenager, who reached Thrikkakara on April 6, was initially admitted in a local hospital with fever and throat pain and later referred to a private super specialty hospital. The hospital authorities suspected diphtheria and referred him to Kottayam government medical college. But, the patient’s relatives took him to Thrissur medical college where he was put on ventilator support on April 19. According to the district medical office, the patient had other serious complications which resulted in organ failure.

Health department authorities have stepped up preventive measures in view of reports of new cases. “Health department additional director Dr. Usha Kumari reviewed the situation and held discussions with the DMO. A meeting of the Rapid Response team of the health department including top officials was convened here on Friday. Apart from doctors from health services, representatives of private hospitals, Indian Medical Association and Indian Academy of Paediatrics also attended,” he added. Houses in the neighbourhood with suspected cases are being surveyed. Preventive vaccines will be given to family members as well as to those who had contacts with the patients. It has been decided to provide enough stock of preventive vaccines and anti-toxins. Doctors and health workers will be given vaccinations. The public has been advised to seek medical advice in case of fever, throat pain and difficulty in swallowing.