According to the U.S., Corynebacterium diphtheriae, bacteria that can produce toxins that can make people “very sick,” causes the “serious infection” known as diphtheria. Prevention and Control for Disease (CDC). It can be transmitted from person to person through contact with open sores or ulcers, or through respiratory droplets such as those produced when sneezing or coughing.

The disease was the “leading cause of childhood death around the world, including in the United States,” according to the CDC, before the diphtheria vaccines were developed. However, due to vaccination campaigns, the disease is now “nearly unheard of” in the United States.

In a report by Brisbane Times, about 95% of Australian children between the ages of one and five have reportedly received “all” of the advised vaccinations.

“Diphtheria is very rare in Australia due to our longstanding childhood immunization program,” Dr. Paul Douglas, the director of North Coast Public Health, said, as per the outlet.

However, the two children who were diagnosed with diphtheria were not vaccinated. Their family members and close contacts have already received post-exposure prophylaxis, The Guardian reported.

There have been other “less serious” cases of diphtheria affecting the skin, in a report by news.com.au, even though this is the first report of throat diphtheria in NSW since the 1990s. Depending on the body part affected, diphtheria symptoms can vary, as stated by the CDC.

When it affects the skin, a diphtheria skin infection can result in sores or ulcers. The illness “rarely” results in severe disease in these skin-related cases. In contrast, respiratory diphtheria, which affects the respiratory system, can manifest as symptoms like a sore throat, swollen neck glands, a mild fever, and weakness. Toxins have the potential to harm the heart, kidneys, and nerves if they enter the bloodstream.

Dr. Douglas urge parents to check their children’s immunization status and get their little ones a jab for diphtheria if they have not yet had it, noting that he did not want people in the surrounding community to be alarmed.

“The diphtheria vaccination is free and readily available from your GP for everyone from six weeks of age. It is important everyone keeps up to date with their vaccinations,” the doctor said.

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Sources: Awm, Theguardian, Brisbanetimes, News.com

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