A report came in from Barcelona where a 6 year old boy died on Saturday because of diphtheria. A dormant disease for the past 28 years, it resurfaced and took the boys life in a Barcelona hospital where he was admitted since May 30th.
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat.
Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the most obvious sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat, which can block your airway, causing you to struggle for breath.
Diphtheria is extremely rare in the United States and other developed countries, thanks to widespread vaccination against the disease, reported by Mayoclinic.
The child had not been vaccinated against the disease and his respiratory, cardiac and kidney functions were affected by the diphtheria toxin, which made him require artificial respiration, connection to an artificial kidney and several days of extracorporeal circulation.
A controversy was sparked all over Spain over the parent’s refusal to the vaccination, which in time led to his death. A debate has started about whether it should be obligatory to have your children vaccinated.
Vaccinations in Spain are recommended but not imposed, and a law passed in 1986 specifically made them non-obligatory.
After the 6 year old lost his fight to death, 50 of his classmates were tested for the disease and 8 of them were found to be carriers of the bacteria, but were safe because they were vaccinated.
Diphtheria is caused by the corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium. It is most commonly spread through person-to-person contact or contact with items that have the bacteria on them. Coming into contact with items such as an infected person’s cup or used tissue can transfer the bacteria. The mist exhaled by an infected person’s sneeze or cough can also contain the bacteria. Even if the infected person does not show any signs or symptoms of diphtheria, he or she is still able to transmit the infection for up to six weeks, reported by healthline.