Date: Wed 21 Mar 2018
Source: CDN [in Spanish, trans. ProMED Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ, edited]
Given the recent cases in Haiti of the dangerous acute infectious disease known as diphtheria, which has claimed the lives of several people in that nation, the Dominican Ministry of Public Health is carrying out a prevention campaign in the border area of [Dajabon] province. The ministry alerted the population about the existence of the contagious disease in the neighbouring country through the Provincial Directorate of Health in Dajabon.
The director of health in Dajabon, Percio JimÃ©nez, confirmed that several deaths due to diphtheria have already been recorded in Haiti and added that, because of this, the Dominican authorities have initiated preventive operations in an attempt to prevent the disease from entering the Dominican territory again.
Diphtheria is an infectious disease that affects the respiratory, digestive, and other systems. It [affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose] and is transmitted from person to person. Public Health said [on Wed 21 Mar 2018] that it has kept diphtheria under control through an immunization program with coverage of 85 per cent of the population, and that since 2014 cases have declined consistently. The director of the Expanded Program on Immunization, ZacarÃas Garib Arbaje, said that only one case was reported in 2015, 3 in 2016, and one in 2017. [byline: RamÃ³n Medina, Elixandra EncarnaciÃ³n]
[The Dominican Republic, with a population of about 10 million residents, occupies the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region; the western third of Hispaniola is occupied by the country of Haiti (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic
DajabÃ³n, with a population of 42,661 residents, is a province located in the north western part of the Dominican Republic on the border with Haiti (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DajabÃ³n_Province
>). A map that shows the location of Dajabon province can be found at <https://www.google.com/maps/place/DajabÃ³n+Province,+Dominican+Republic
A map of Haiti that shows the location of its provinces can be found at <http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/haiti_map.htm
>. The Haitian province of Nord-Est abuts Dajabon province in the Dominican Republic. The other Haitian provinces that abut the Dominican Republic are Centre, Ouest, and Sud-Est.
The Pan American Health organization reports (<https://reliefweb.int/report/venezuela-bolivarian-republic/epidemiological-update-diphtheria-28-february-2018
"In 2017, there were 4 countries in the Region of the Americas -- Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela -- that reported confirmed diphtheria cases. As of epidemiological week (EW) 8 of 2018, 4 countries in the Region--Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, and Venezuela -- have reported suspected and confirmed diphtheria cases.
"Following is a summary of the situation in each country with reported suspected and confirmed cases in 2018. "In Haiti, since the beginning of the outbreak at the end of 2014 up to EW 6 of 2018, there have been 410 probable cases of diphtheria reported, including 75 deaths. Reported case fatality rates were 22.3 per cent in 2015, 27 per cent in 2016 and 10.7 per cent in 2017 and 2018.
During the 1st 4 epidemiological weeks of 2018, 2 to 5 probable cases per EW were reported similar to that observed during the last 4 weeks of 2017. "Females accounted for 57 per cent of the total probable cases in 2015, 50 per cent in 2016, 60 per cent in 2017, and 47 per cent in 2018 (up to EW 6). With respect to vaccination coverage, between 2015 and 2018 the unvaccinated cases accounted for 17 per cent (2018) to 38 per cent (2015) of the total cases.
Children less than 10 years of age accounted for 64 per cent of the probable cases reported between 2017 to EW 4 of 2018. "Since the beginning of the outbreak the departments reporting the highest number of probable cases are Artibonite, Centre, and Ouest."
PAHO reported in 2017 for the Dominican Republic (<https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/2017-dec-15-phe-epi-update-diphtheria.pdf
"In the Dominican Republic, there were 3 confirmed diphtheria cases reported in the last diphtheria epidemiological update of 15 November 2017; however, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance has since reported that only one was confirmed for diphtheria as the other 2 cases were discarded by clinical criteria (1) and by laboratory (1). No fatal case was reported."
A map of Dajabon, Dajabon, Dominican Republic:
>. - ProMED Mod.ML]