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8 Comments

  1. 1

    Rorschach

    As Medical Observer reported yesterday, a young woman has died in a Brisbane hospital from diphtheria, in Australia’s first case of the infection for nearly two decades.

    This is not correct, actually. I diagnosed diphtheria in an Australian, caucasian male patient about 2 years ago, making it the first documented case since 1991 at the time. It’s on the books and in the records. Right now, we are losing herd immunity for infectious diseases once thought to be overcome faster than we can say “chiropractor”.

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  2. 2

    Steve Lambert

    Hi Rorschach – If this is true, you should make sure your state or territory health dept know about it, either by calling them, or completing a notification form with all of the details. Just to make sure they have it counted in the notifications.

    Reply
  3. 3

    Rorschach

    Just to make sure they have it counted in the notifications.

    They have. 2 or 3 years ago. That’s why the Medical Observer is wrong in calling it the first case for 2 decades. But keep in mind that the point is not who got in first, but how we prevent future outbreaks of preventable diseases.

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  4. 4

    Steve Lambert

    Hi again – It doesn’t appear to have been counted in national figures – if you go to this link and produce the table for diphtheria – http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/Source/Rpt_3_sel.cfm. It might be worth checking with your state/territory health dept. Diphtheria is so rare, it is worth making sure we know about every case.

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  5. 5
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Thanks Steve for the link to that report. It shows 2 notifications for diphtheria in 1991, 4 in 1992, and 1 in 2001, and 1 in 2011. No detail of outcome for the patients involved.

    Hopefully Rorschach can provide more details soon…

    Reply
  6. 6
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Update on June 1. Interestingly, the national notifications link above now shows there have been 4 cases reported this year.
    I am checking out reports that a 2008 case in Victoria was not included in the national notifications data.

    Reply
  7. 7
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Update, June 2: I sent details of the 2008 case (provided by ‘Rorschach’) to the Victorian Health Department, asking why it wasn’t included in notifications data, and this was the response:

    “Our examination of this case has revealed that the laboratory results indicated that this was a non toxigenic case and therefore rejected in accordance with the national case definition. Given it was rejected it wouldn’t appear in our data nor be reported
    through to DoHA.”

    Reply

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