Jakarta to vaccinate 1.9 million children against diphtheria outbreak

Jakarta to vaccinate 1.9 million children against diphtheria outbreak

Illustration. A student of SMA Negeri 33 in Cengkareng, Jakarta, underwent a medical examination prior to the simultaneous immunization or Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) Diphtheria. (ANTARA /Widodo S Jusuf)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government of Jakarta has been working to vaccinate 1.9 million children, or a slight increase from the previous target of 1.7 million in a bid to fight the outbreak of diphtheria.

"We have decided to cover all children, so not just 1.2 million but the target now has been increased to 1.9 million people," Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan stated at the City Hall here on Wednesday.

Jakarta had recorded 109 cases of diphtheria last year, with the figure increasing from 17 cases in 2016, 10 in 2015, and four in 2014.

"The increase is relatively high, so we need to take some extraordinary measures," Baswedan noted.

The Health Department of Jakarta had conducted a simultaneously vaccination of children, as they are most vulnerable to the bacteria through the Diphtheria Outbreak Response Immunization Program in some areas last year.

Until now, major diphtheria-infected cases were found in children, but Governor Baswedan intends to cover grown-ups too as a precautionary measure.

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose, with initial flu-like symptoms but can aggravate to fever, swallowing difficulties, hoarseness, enlarged lymph nodes, coughing, and shortness of breath; while in some patients, the disease may affect the skin, leading to ulcers.

Although it can spread easily from an infected person to others within two to three days of having contracted the bacterial infection, diphtheria can be prevented through the use of vaccines.

(T.A060/INE)
EDITED BY INE/a014

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