Epidemic diseases affect the Yemenis as the Houthis continue to hinder campaigns to vaccinate children against deadly diseases, as the World Health Organization revealed a significant increase in cases of diphtheria (diphtheria) since the beginning of this year by 58 percent, following a major outbreak of measles and rubella.very.
The organization stated in a report distributed on Thursday that data monitored until October 14 showed that the number of diphtheria cases increased by 57 percent compared to what it was in 2021 and 2022. She indicated that infection cases gradually increased since 2021, but she noticed a significant increase in 2023.
According to these data, 1,671 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported so far, with 109 related deaths, during 9 and a half months of this year, compared to 1,283 cases reported in the whole of last year.
The organization explained that diphtheria is usually a winter disease, so the increase in cases observed from June to September this year represents a change in the usual seasonal pattern.
300 patients face death
In response to the current increase in disease cases, the World Health Organization has announced that it will deliver to the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population an urgent amount of 2,200 vials of antitoxin (diphtheria antidote), which will be distributed in the most affected areas. .
However, due to the complexity of the situation in the country, only 220 vials have been delivered so far, while the global shortage of diphtheria antidote affects the possibility of providing it and increases its prices.
The United Nations has confirmed that the doses it has been able to provide are only enough to treat 300 patients in critical condition, which is an insufficient number to deal with this problem.
Arturo Besegan, the World Health Representative in Yemen, expects that in 2024, multiple and large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including diphtheria, will continue to spread, with the percentage of children who are not immunized or who have not been vaccinated with any whatever vaccine dose reaching 28 percent.
The lack of funding and lack of access for a large number of Yemenis will negatively affect the health and lives of the most vulnerable people in Yemen, according to the UN official.
Low immunization rates
According to the World Health Organization, there is a significant decline in immunization rates and a consequent increase in the number of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases among children in Yemen.
The organization warned that the decline in immunization coverage is exacerbated by economic deterioration, low income, displacement and overcrowded living conditions in camps, in addition to the depleted health system and severe lack of funding.
She emphasized that millions of children cannot be reached by routine immunization activities, as the number of suspected cases of vaccine-preventable diseases has risen to unprecedented levels.
The United Nations organization continues to monitor and analyze data on outbreaks and reported cases every week, to ensure a full understanding of the epidemiological situation in the country. According to what I mentioned in the statement.
The organization explained that diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Signs and symptoms range from mild to severe, and often appear gradually. Mortality rates resulting from this disease are higher in younger children who have not been immunized .
She warned that in severe cases of this disease, the bacteria produce a toxin in the back of the throat that can block the airway, making it difficult to breathe or swallow.
She warned that this toxin can also reach the bloodstream, causing complications that can include inflammation and damage to the heart muscle, nerve inflammation, kidney problems or bleeding. Heart muscle problems can multiply and cause an abnormal acceleration of the pulse, and nerve inflammation can lead to paralysis.