Indonesia started outbreak response Diphtheria immunization
Minister of Health Prof Nila Moeloek and Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan launched an Outbreak Response Immunisation (ORI) in Cengkareng, Jakarta, 11 December 2017. The initial ORI is conducted in selected locations in Jakarta, Banten and West Java provinces, to prevent further transmission of the disease and to prevent children from getting this vaccine preventable disease.
Diphtheria is a serious disease, affecting nose, throat and upper respiratory tract. The disease could also lead to death, due to blocked breathing tract and heart failure, particularly in children. The symptoms are mainly high fever over 38 degree Celsius, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, and swollen neck.
Diphtheria is a vaccine preventable disease. The Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) is available for free in government health facilities such as Puskesmas, as a part of Routine Basic Immunisation for children. DPT-HB-Hib vaccine is given three times to children age 2, 3, 4 months, then once again at the age of 18 months. First graders get the booster vaccine (Dt) and second to fifth graders get the second booster (Td).
ORI is given to children 1 - <19 years old. In Jakarta, ORI will be conducted in health facilities, schools, and even shopping malls. The first phase is to be conducted to reach 1.2 million of population in West and North Jakarta. The outreach will eventually cover the entire population of Jakarta, aged between 1 - <19 years old.
Diphtheria outbreak was caused by lack of high level of immunisation coverages over time, resulting in accumulation of susceptible children/adolescent. In many areas, these unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are at highest risk of getting infected by the disease.
The rise in cases in 2017 is attributed to several reasons, including some families rejecting vaccinations, lack of awareness on the benefit of vaccination, and for some areas lack of access to services. Treatment involves administering diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) to neutralize the effects of the toxin, as well as antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
WHO works closely with the Ministry of health, professional organizations (IDAI) and other partners to curb the outbreak, in conducting different activities such as enhancing the surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases and the case management of cases, and provision of DAT.
Frequently asked questions on Diphtheria: