Diphtheria’s Shameful Return

Diphtheria’s recent resurgence in disparate, crisis-ridden nations represents a “shameful” reality that the bacterial infection, virtually eliminated even in poor countries, is still killing vulnerable populations, writes Michael Edelstein of the Centre on Global Health Security.

In 2016, 86% of children worldwide were vaccinated, and immunizations are safe and inexpensive.

Before state failure in Venezuela, conflict in Yemen and displacement of Rohingyas into Bangladesh, vaccination levels were well below the level of population protection—opening the door to thousands of diphtheria cases, dozens of them fatal.

“Strong, resilient and universally accessible healthcare systems” must be made a reality for all to prevent such tragedies, Edelstein writes.

Chatham House

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