The Department of Health (DOH) Davao Region has urged the public to protect children against diphtheria.
A statement issued Thursday follows the recent death of 10-year-old girl due to the disease in Pandacan, Manila.
Nationwide, the DOH reported that there have been a slight increase in diphtheria cases this year, recording a total of 167 cases and 40 deaths from January to September 2019.
“The Department of Health Davao Center for Health Development (DOH DCHD) recognizes the concerns of the public regarding the news of a suspected diphtheria case (that) caused the death of a Grade 4 student in Manila,” the DOH said in its press release.
The DOH DCHD explained that diptheria is an infectious bacterial disease that is spread from person to person by respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing.
“It is usually characterized by sore throat, low fever and swollen glands, and in severe cases, causes inflammation of the heart muscle and damage in the peripheral nerves,” it said.
The agency also pointed out that diphtheria along with other infectious diseases namely Pertussis (whooping cough) and Tetanus, can be prevented through immunization given in 3 doses of DPT
(Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) Vaccine at ages 6 weeks old, 10 weeks old, and 14 weeks old.
“We strongly urge parents and caregivers to ensure that their children receive the complete dose of all recommended vaccines particularly for the first year of life. Now more than ever, the importance of protecting our infants and children against vaccine-preventable diseases remains to be our ultimate goal,” it said.
“With the DOH campaign, Back to bakUna, Una sa Lahat Bakuna, we appeal to everyone to work together and ensure that every child receives the complete dose of vaccines on time,” it added.