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August 18, 2022

Two confirmed cases of diphtheria in northern NSW

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On Saturday evening the North Coast Public Health Unit confirmed that there was a case of diphtheria in a two-year-old child in Northern NSW.

The child, who was not vaccinated against diphtheria, is currently being cared for in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a Queensland hospital and has received diphtheria antitoxin, antibiotics and respiratory support.

The child’s family and close contacts have received post-exposure prophylaxis, which can include antibiotics and immunisation, to reduce the risk of transmission.

The North Coast Public Health Unit says this is the first case of diphtheria of the throat in NSW in a century.

On Sunday evening the Health Unit confirmed a second case of diphtheria of the throat, in a six-year-old child.

This child is a close family contact of the first case announced on Saturday.

No ongoing risk to the broader community

Dr Paul Douglas, Director North Coast Public Health, said there is no ongoing risk to the broader community but families should be alert and review the immunisation status of their children on the Australian Immunisation Register or with their medical provider, to ensure they are up-to-date with all vaccinations. ‘Diphtheria is very rare in Australia due to our longstanding childhood immunisation program. However, the disease has very serious outcomes and can be fatal

Dr Douglas said the diphtheria vaccination is free and readily available from your GP for everyone from six weeks of age. ‘It is important that everyone keeps up to date with their vaccinations.’

Diphtheria is a contagious disease that is spread through coughing and sneezing and can sometimes spread through contact with surfaces contaminated with the bacteria.

For more information on Diphtheria, visit: Diphtheria fact sheet – Fact sheets (nsw.gov.au).


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23 COMMENTS

    • Some refresher courses in History and Science might be more productive. Can we wave goodbye to herd immunity in this shire?

  1. I’m 79 years old, born in war ravaged England, and have never heard of an active case of Diptheria. I HEARD about it from my parents who had seen people suffering from it. That, of course was before vaccination was available. There are a lot of horrible diseases that we don’t see anymore. Let’s hope we don’t go backwards in disease control.

  2. Is Diphtheria of the Throat different from ordinary Diphtheria? I had Diphtheria of the Throat when I was 6 years old in1939 just before immunisation became available. That’s not quite 100 years.

    • Both are the same bacteria that’s killed stone dead by penicillin. You probably contracted it by drinking unfiltered drinking water, thus it lodge in your throat. Most of those olden times diseases such as Diphtheria, Cholera, Whooping Cough, etc, are all bacteria that sprang up when industrialisation drove everyone together in cities, then started disappearing as sewage systems and water treatment plants were rolled out across the world.

        • Any old bacteria can kill you if you wait until sepsis to do something about it. There was time for a second child to catch it by direct contact, incubate it, and become contagious as well, before anything was done about the first kid. I’m surprised it didn’t die before the owners of the 6 year old raised the alarm. This is a story of cultural differences. Where geographical does Diphtheria come from today?

          • Are these presumptions, assumptions or do you have first hand knowledge of the family involved?

  3. I was incredibly disappointed that the echo ran with this story. There are 6 men a day that commit suicide, will you run a story abt that?? AND “THEY WERE UN VAXED” goodness

    • We can’t walk and chew gum?

      Suicide is a serious and tragic issue – believe me I know! Tragic too was the number of childhood deaths from diphtheria prior to widespread vaccination. It was once Australia’s leading cause of childhood deaths. The fact that a disease, almost unheard of for decades has emerged in an area of NSW with the lowest childhood vaccination rates is worthy of public ventilation no matter what your attitude is to vaccines. Why would you be disappointed with the Echo for reporting it ffs?

      Btw, between 40-50 people per day in Australia are dying of Covid 19 right now. Around 75% have not had the recommended levels of vaccination. Don’t want to hear about that either?

  4. Unbelievable that this preventable disease is being allowed to infect anyone.
    Smarten up and vaccinate your children, it’s no way to die.

    • Since vaccine manufacturers have full immunity from civil suits, I assume you are going to cover all medical expenses incurred by those you convince?

        • I’ve got plenty of Terramycin stored up. I’ll throw in a tube of that well know anti-viral medication, ivermectin. I’ve done decades of animal testing, they definitely work, and any farmer will tell you they work on humans. They should be in your first aid kit.

          • Thanks Dr Christian but, if I get ill, I seek the advice of someone medically trained. Old fashioned, I know.

  5. Them children who ended up in hospital are my nephews and if anyone who wants to judge there
    mother is a very clean lady does not let her baby out of sight or let’s anyone look after them

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