Sunday , January 17 2021

Diphtheria in Peru: What is it and what are the symptoms of this disease that registered its first case in 20 years?

This Tuesday, October 27, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) confirmed the first case of diphtheria in Lima, after 20 years of not registering a case of this disease in the country.

According to the medical literature, Diphtheria is an acute infection caused by the bacterium Cornebacterium Diphtheria. In the most severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that causes a thick gray or white plaque in the back of the throat and may block the airways, making it difficult to breathe and eat food. Also, lymph node hypertrophy, located in the neck, can cause externally visible swelling.


Diphtheria may show symptoms between the second and fifth day after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms can range from sore throat, fever and dry cough.


Diphtheria is easily transmitted from person to person, by direct contact or by air, through respiratory droplets when talking, coughing or sneezing. In addition, it can be transmitted through objects contaminated with the bacteria from the emitted droplets.


Peru’s current immunization schedule is one of the most complete in the world, with 17 vaccines fighting diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, pneumonia, measles, rubella, measles and influenza.

Diseases such as diphtheria were eradicated thanks to vaccination. However, with the advancement of anti-vaccine groups, which speak of adverse effects, the health of children is at risk against these diseases can be easily prevented by vaccination.

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