Restrictions lift after diptheria scare
A quarantine for residents of a ward in Yangon’s Mingalardon township was lifted after a potential diphtheria case last week, but health officials continue to monitor the patient.
ABOUT 200 people in Mingalardon township’s Tilawka ward, who were prohibited from leaving their homes after a diphtheria scare last week, were given permission to move freely once again on July 23, according to Daw Thandar Moe, a parliamentary representative for the Mingalardon constituency.
On the evening of July 21, an eightyear-old in the ward was admitted to hospital with a high fever, sore throat and tonsillitis. Officials put a quarantine in place in the neighbourhood to prevent a potential spread of the infectious disease.
The child, who has been hospitalised at Yangon Children’s Hospital, will be kept under quarantine for about two more weeks and the child’s household, as well as six neighbouring households, will be kept under watch, said Daw Thandar Moe.
“My daughter has undergone checks and X-rays,” Daw Maw, the child’s mother, said yesterday. “The results have not come back yet.”
The hospital is continuing to monitor the patient for diphtheria.
“She had a high fever for three days and then recovered,” said Daw Maw. “But she got a fever again two days later. She told me she had a sore throat. First we visited a clinic but we worried later and brought her to the hospital.”
A few children in areas outside of Yangon’s Mingalardon township have suffered from diphtheria this year.
Diphtheria is caused by bacteria, and symptoms usually begin two to five days after a person becomes infected. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. It is contagious, through contact with infected people or objects, 14 to 28 days after the initial infection.
Diphtheria can infect people of any age, but children who have not been vaccinated are especially susceptible, and it can be fatal, the Department of Public Health said in a statement. About 20 people were infected by diphtheria in the first half of 2016, the statement said, with six of them dying.
“Apart from my first son, my other three children were not vaccinated because we are living on low wages and we are not always at home,” said Daw Maw. “I want other parents to know they should vaccinate their children. I feel sorry for my daughter’s suffering because of my failure to vaccinate her. And I worry that she may be isolated by the community.”
The Ministry of Health and Sports’ five-in-one vaccination program includes a diphtheria vaccine for children at the ages of two months, four months and six months.
KHIN WYNE PHYU PHYU