Peru has recorded its first-ever case diphtheria after 20 long years after warnings were issued by various international health organisations that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can affect the routine of vaccination programmes.
The warnings have been issued specifically for the younger generation, who have been negatively affected by the downward spiral in the economy and the availability of the health services in the country due to the pandemic.
Peru is now on a national epidemiological alert to detect other potential cases, bolster vaccinations and curb any potential wider outbreak which is expected to get worse with the commencement of the second wave of coronavirus in several countries. COVID-19 has severely affected Peru with more than 892,000 cases and 34,200 deaths.
As of now, a five-year-old girl living in the capital Lima has been diagnosed with the infectious respiratory disease, the Andean nation’s Public Health Vice Minister Luis Suarez reported on Tuesday. The young girl is in a stable condition and is being closely monitored by a team of doctors.
The case has been diagnosed after almost 20 years, as the last case was cured in 2000, and the Pan American Health Organization had warned in 2019 that the disease may exist in few other countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti.
This disease affects the throat and upper airways which causes the dead tissue to build up and the patent, then, finds it difficult to breathe. Just like the novel coronavirus, this disease can also spread through physical contact, and also by respiratory contact. The most severe cases can take the mortality rate beyond 10 per cent.
The United Nations warned in July that immunizations against dangerous diseases, including diphtheria, had dropped alarmingly during the pandemic, with three-fourths of 82 countries reporting disruption to their programs in a May survey because of shortages of protective equipment for health workers, travel restrictions and low staffing.
Suarez admitted that due to lack of funds, the government had only issued 40 per cent of diphtheria and tetanus vaccinations instead of the usual 70 per cent.