Respiratory diphtheria in three paediatric patients.

J. K. Lee, S. Huda, A. Francis, Aisai, M. Jusoh

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Abstract

From August till November 1998, the Paediatric and Anaesthetic Units of Hospital Kuala Terengganu managed three patients from Kuala Terengganu District who were ventilated for respiratory diphtheria. Their ages were 5, 4 and 7 years old and their immunisation for diphtheria were not complete. All three patients presented with respiratory distress and were ventilated for upper airway obstruction. Their treatment included intravenous penicillin and diphtheria antitoxin. One patient died of cardiogenic shock with secondary pneumonia. Pharyngeal and tonsillar swabs of all three patients grew toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae biotype mitis. There were 765 throat cultures taken from contacts. The confirmed positive cultures grew 2 toxigenic and 3 non-toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae biotype mitis and surprisingly, 10 non-toxigenic biotype gravis. A prevalence study is needed to document the endemicity of diphtheria in Kuala Terengganu and to determine the carrier rate of both biotypes. Steps have been taken to increase the immunisation coverage in children. The giving of regular booster doses of diphtheria toxoid to the adult population should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-382
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Malaysia
Volume54
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes

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