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HomeNewsLatest NewsFirst Death Linked To Diphtheria Outbreak At Pollsmoor Correctional Centre

First Death Linked To Diphtheria Outbreak At Pollsmoor Correctional Centre

"More tests were conducted with the 55 identified close contacts, and the results of 8 inmates tested positive for diphtheria, two of them presenting with mild symptoms and the other six are asymptomatic.

The Department of Health has confirmed the first death linked to an outbreak of diphtheria at the Pollsmoor Correctional Centre in the Western Cape.

The 19-year-old inmate presented diphtheria symptoms on 28 October. Throat swabs collected from the man came back positive five days later, after which his health deteriorated.

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The department’s spokesperson, Foster Mohale, says contact tracing of inmates, Correctional Services staff, consulting healthcare workers, and emergency services personnel is underway.

“More tests were conducted with the 55 identified close contacts, and the results of 8 inmates tested positive for diphtheria, two of them presenting with mild symptoms and the other six are asymptomatic.

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“All patients fall within the age group of 18 to 23 years old. Immediate contacts of the patients and the deceased have been put in isolation from the rest of the correctional centre section to prevent further spread of the disease,” Mohale says.

Two staffers displayed symptoms and have received treatment while waiting for their laboratory test results. A vaccination campaign is also underway.

“Two laboratory-confirmed cases of diphtheria disease were recorded earlier in the year from an adult in KwaZulu-Natal and a child in the Western Cape,” Mohale added.

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What is Diphtheria?

Diphtheria is an uncommon but vaccine-preventable serious infection caused by a toxin-producing bacterium called Corynebacterium diphtheria. The toxin may lead to difficulty in breathing, heart rhythm problems, and even death.

The bacteria spreads from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. The symptoms of diphtheria include a sore throat (with the formation of a membrane on the tonsil and throat) and swollen glands in the front of the neck.

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Keitumetse Modise for SurgeZirc SA
Keitumetse Modise for SurgeZirc SA
Keitumetse Modise is a passionate and dedicated local news writer who brings the latest news and updates from your community straight to your doorstep. With years of experience in journalism, Keitumetse has established herself as a reliable source of information, covering a wide range of topics that matter to you.
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