Travel Vaccines

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Diphtheria

Facts

 An estimated 5-10% of people who get the infection will die from complications

  

Respiratory

Person-to-person through close contact with someone infected with C. diphtheria or their possessions
 

4,778 cases

Worldwide annually (estimated)

 

Symptoms

Mild fever (rarely >38.3ºC), sore throat, difficulty swallowing, malaise, loss of appetite, and if the larynx is involved, hoarseness

 

Severe Case

Psuedo-membranes from in the throat, tonsils, pharynx, and larynx causing a potentially fatal obstruction of the airway and breathing difficulties

Prevention 

Precaution against diphtheria, including good hygiene measures and vaccination
should be considered:

-    Ensure diphtheria vaccinations are up-to-date or obtain booster if travelling to endemic areas
-    Regular and thorough hand hygiene 
-    Minimize contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory illness
-    Avoid sharing personal items such as eating/drinking utensils, toothbrush and
 towels 

Vaccine

  In B.C., the Diphtheria vaccine is in combination with Tetanus (Td-Adsorbed) or in combination with tetanus and pertussis ( Adacel or Boostrix ). A booster is recommended every ten years for adults who have completed their routine childhood vaccinations.  Travellers must ensure that they are up to date with their tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis immunization prior to their trip.

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