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In July, the United Nations warned that vaccination, especially for children, had dropped for the first time in 28 years as minors worldwide have not been able to complete the three doses against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
Peru's Health Ministry confirmed on Wednesday the first diphtheria case in 20 years, as local media outlets report that in 2020 the children's vaccination program only covered 40 percent of minors due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, diphtheria is an infectious disease that primarily infects the throat and upper airways and produces toxins affecting other organs. The disease is spread through direct physical contact or from breathing in the aerosolized secretions from coughs or infected individuals' sneezes.
Local authorities reported that about 50 medical staff brigades started epidemiological surveillance in the neighborhood of the infected five-year-old girl in the capital Lima. This, as authorities also confirmed, the child could not access the doses via the national vaccination scheme. The girl remains stable.
Hoy, 50 brigadas del Minsa realizan acciones de vacunación casa por casa en la zona de Manzanilla, en La Victoria, donde se registró un caso de difteria. Especialistas se desplazan con el objetivo de identificar a personas no vacunadas y casos sospechosos de la enfermedad. pic.twitter.com/v30T0qUiKO
"Today, 50 Minsa brigades are carrying out house-to-house vaccination actions in the area of Manzanilla, in La Victoria, where a case of diphtheria was registered. Specialists are moving around intending to identify unvaccinated people and suspicious cases of the disease."
"This year, especially the problem we have had in almost all Latin America is the low vaccination coverage, especially in children under one-year-old, who are those who have not received the corresponding vaccines," the Vice Minister of Public Health Luis Suarez explained to the press.
In July the United Nations warned that vaccination, especially for children, had dropped for the first time in 28 years as minors all over the world have not been able to complete the three doses against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
The organization warned that lockdowns measures had halted the delivery of immunization services in at least 68 countries, which puts approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 at increased risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases.