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Diphtheria in Yemen

27 Nov 2017

On 19 November 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO) Link reported 118 cases (including 10 deaths) of suspected diphtheria in Yemen from  13 August to 4 November 2017. Of these cases, 103 were reported from Ibb Governorate with the rest being reported from Abyan, Aden, Aljawf, Ameran, Dhamar, Hajjah, Mareb, Sadaah and Taiz. The majority of cases had no vaccination history, or were incompletely vaccinated. 

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.