Diphtheria Outbreak: Special Vaccination Drive To Begin In Odisha’s Rayagada Today

Rayagada: A special diphtheria vaccination drive will begin in Odisha’s Rayagada district by Wednesday evening.

The outbreak in Kashipur area has so far claimed the lives of five children.

“No new cases have been detected. All patients in Rayagda hospital have been discharged while four persons are undergoing treatment in Kalahandi. The affected districts have been directed to strengthen surveillance, house-to-house visits by teams. Surveys are underway in villages near the affected areas. Special drive for diphtheria vaccination will begin today,” Director of Public Health Nilakantha Mishra told the media. 

Containment measures are continuing in Mahushpadar village, where the children fell to the bacterial infection, to minimise spread of disease to neighbouring villages. The disease has spread to Koraput and Kalahandi districts, bordering Kashipur.

Director of Family Welfare Sanjukta Sahoo said all children and adults with symptoms were given antibiotics as per the guidelines. “People are being provided treatment on the advice of the SLN Medical College team. Mobile health teams will be also be conducting surveillance in neighbouring districts of Kandamal, Koraput, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi,” she said.

The Health and Family Welfare department has asked the district administration to administer pentavalent vaccine shot to kids of less than one year, single dose diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) to children aged one to seven, and tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine to children above seven years.

The vaccine will be initially administered to non-immunised and under-immunised children identified during house-to-house survey in the affected Manushpadar village and later expanded to other hard-to-reach villages. “The health officials have been asked to deploy a medical officer at each outreach vaccination site and ensure that anaphylaxis kit is available for management of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) cases. The drive will be completed within 15 days,” said Health secretary Shalini Pandit.

Since diphtheria spreads through droplets or direct contact with respiratory secretion and its incubation period is two to five days, people in the affected villages have been advised to use face masks and maintain hand hygiene.


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