Diphtheria case confirmed in Latvia
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that can cause serious complications if left untreated. While the disease is rare in many countries due to widespread vaccination, it still poses a significant threat in areas with low vaccination rates or inadequate healthcare infrastructure.

The disease is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae and is spread through respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected person. It can also spread through contaminated objects or surfaces. The bacteria produce a toxin that can damage tissues and organs, leading to severe illness.

Diphtheria case confirmed in Latvia

Meanwhile, the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) said March 1 it had confirmed Latvia's first case of diphtheria in three years.

In the period from 2009 to 2019, 119 cases of diphtheria were registered in Latvia, nine of which proved fatal. 

"Vaccination plays a crucial role in the prevention of diphtheria," said the SKPC and emphasized that insufficient vaccination coverage creates a risk of a larger outbreak and spread of infection.

Vaccination against diphtheria is paid for by the state and available from family doctors.

Children in Latvia are vaccinated against diphtheria as infants and then again at the age of 7 and 14 years. To extend lifelong immunity, adults need a booster vaccination every 10 years.

After contracting diphtheria, full-fledged immunity against diphtheria is not formed, so even people who have had diphtheria in the past should be vaccinated regularly.

Symptoms of Diphtheria

Symptoms of diphtheria can include fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing, coughing, and a gray or white membrane covering the back of the throat or tonsils. Other symptoms may include swollen glands, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Diagnosis is typically done through laboratory tests such as a throat culture or blood test. Treatment involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria and antitoxin to neutralize the toxin.

People with severe cases may require hospitalization and supportive care such as oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation.

Prevention is key when it comes to diphtheria. Vaccination with the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP) vaccine is recommended for children starting at two months of age. 

Booster shots are recommended every ten years for adults. In addition, practicing good hygiene such as washing hands frequently and covering coughs and sneezes can help prevent the spread of the disease.

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