Best prevention against diphtheria is vaccination: Abel

Image: Raffles Health

Health Promotional Officer at the Ministry of Health, Myriam Abel, has confirmed that the reported cases of diphtheria may be the first cases recorded for Vanuatu.

Two children were found with the disease in Port Vila.

The children with diphtheria were 11 and 13 years old.

Ms Abel, who is an experienced nurse by profession, says at the time of diagnosis of the disease, it is not known at this stage how the children contracted diphtheria.

Ms Abel says one possibility is that the children may have missed their vaccination doses against the disease.

She says the symptoms of the disease include fatigue, sore throat, fever and a swollen neck

The disease can also affect adults if they have not been vaccinated, Ms Abel told Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 Buzz FM in an interview.

“We have a policy where we have vaccine preventable diseases.

“Children are vaccinated before they become one year old.

“These vaccinations are given to our children.

“If they have not received their vaccination then this is what happens.

“The disease is caused by bacteria. The name of the bacteria is Corynebacterium diphtheria,” Ms Abel said.

She continues that the diseases can be treated but it is better to prevent it through vaccinations.

Ms Abel revealed that while the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation, it is also undertaking a plan to carry out a mass vaccination of children.

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