GET IMMUNISED: Seven cases of toxigenic cutaneous diphtheria have been reported in Queensland this year.
GET IMMUNISED: Seven cases of toxigenic cutaneous diphtheria have been reported in Queensland this year. Greg Miller

Latest case of rare disease reported in Caboolture

ARE YOU up to date with your vaccinations?

Queensland Health are urging the public to make sure they are, after a person in Caboolture was recently diagnosed with toxigenic cutaneous diphtheria.

Respiratory and cutaneous diphtheria can be caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheria, which can produce toxin. The presence of toxin can lead to serious complications such as paralysis and heart failure.

Seven cases of toxigenic cutaneous diphtheria have been reported in Queensland this year, compared to an average of approximately two cases per year for the previous five year period.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the recent cases highlight the importance of being vaccinated.

"Vaccines are one of the wonders of modern medicine that have saved millions of lives worldwide," Dr Young said.

"But they only work if as many people as possible are protected.

"Even though most people will have been vaccinated against diphtheria as children, adults need a booster dose to be protected."

Adults who have reached 50 years without having received a booster dose in the previous 10 years should receive another dose of diphtheria vaccine.

Symptoms of respiratory diphtheria can include a sore throat, fever and swelling of the soft tissues and lymph nodes in the neck, which in some cases leads to breathing and swallowing difficulties.

Cutaneous diphtheria involves the skin and usually appears as small ulcers on exposed limbs, in particular the legs. Both forms are infectious.

The vaccine is given in combination with tetanus or tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), so if you have been vaccinated with diphtheria and tetanus or diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough in the last 10 years you should be up to date.

If children have completed the recommended vaccination schedule they will be protected against diphtheria.

Visit the Queensland Health website for more information on the Queensland Immunisation Schedule.



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