The North Coast has recorded its first case of toxigenic diphtheria since 2001, leading Shadow NSW Health Minister Walt Secord to accuse the government of failing the community on public health and vaccination.
The report of the potentially fatal disease occurred on August 6, and is said to have involved an adult patient.
The North Coast Public Health Unit has confirmed that the patient was found to have toxigenic diphtheria, the rarest and most dangerous form of the disease.
The patient is now being treated with antibiotics and has been released from hospital.
It is the first time this particular strain has been reported on the NSW North Coast since 2001.
Mr Secord said NSW was ‘now seeing diseases which we thought were eradicated due to vaccinations’.
‘These cases should be setting off the alarm bells in the corridors of the NSW Government,’ Mr Secord said.
‘The Berejiklian Government is failing the community on vaccinations and vaccination rates.’
Mr Secord said that, if elected, Labor would increase the range of vaccinations available through pharmacies – further protecting the community.
Under the plan, NSW pharmacies would be able to provide vaccinations for the dTpa vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough), and the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella).
This would bring NSW into line with South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
A spokesperson for the NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazard, said they had been advised that there was ‘no evidence whatsoever that low vaccination rates were associated with the local case’.
‘Under the NSW Liberals and Nationals, we have seen vaccination rates climb from 87.6 per cent under Labor in 2010 to their highest level ever,’ the spokesperson said.
‘NSW now also has the highest vaccination rates in Australia for Aboriginal children at five years of age, at 97 per cent which is a phenomenal achievement.’
‘We have done more to promote vaccination than Labor ever did.’