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Diphtheria in South Africa (Western Cape)

21 Aug 2017

The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports via media Link 4 cases of diphthereia, including 1 fatality. The 4 cases were reported in Helderberg in the Western Cape and include a mother, 2 children and a neighbor.

Advice for travellers

Respiratory infections are often difficult to prevent but following basic personal hygiene etiquette when coughing and sneezing can help. Avoiding overcrowded areas such as busy markets and local transport may also reduce risk of exposure but may not always be practical.

A combination vaccine called Revaxis is available to protect adults against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Children normally receive these vaccinations as part of the national schedule. Travellers should ensure that they have had a primary course of vaccine and receive a booster every 10 years if they are travelling to an area where diphtheria, tetanus or polio are considered high risk.