Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Call for Action on Diphtheria

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Call for Action on Diphtheria

Article excerpt

Supplies of diphtheria antitoxin are urgently needed worldwide for people with confirmed or suspected diphtheria disease to improve their chances of survival, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) expert group.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, which met at the end of April, called on WHO to collaborate with its partners to establish and manage a global procurement mechanism and a physical or virtual stockpile of diphtheria antitoxin.

Diphtheria is a forgotten disease in much of the world and needs global attention, the expert group said.

Progress in reducing the number of new cases of diphtheria has stalled in the last 5 years, with approximately 5000 cases reported a year, the group noted, citing data collected by WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund.

Most diphtheria cases occur in people who have not been vaccinated at all or in those who have not had a full course of primary vaccination and booster doses, the group said. …

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