- Jul 13, 2016
An outbreak of Diphtheria (or Difteri in Indonesian) has so far claimed the life of 32 people this year in Indonesia. Since the outbreak, over 600 cases have been reported in 20 provinces across the nation. Consequently it has prompted the government to scramble a mass immunization campaigns.
The disease was all but eliminated in Indonesia in the 1990s. However it has made a comeback recently due to low vaccination rates. The Ministry of Health has said that in 66% of the cases the patient was never vaccinated, and in 31% they only received partial vaccination.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Pediatric Association recommends 3 shots by the age of 6 months, with booster shots at 18 months and 5 years of age. Furthermore, adults are recommended to have a Td (tetanus-diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.
The vaccine is available for free in Indonesia during the mass campaign, and is otherwise also covered by BPJS for children under the age of 18.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema have stated that Muslims are permitted to take the vaccination despite it not having received halal certification yet. This is because it is a life saving emergency measure.
Diphtheria is caused by the airborne Corynebacterium Diptheriae bacteria and causes symptoms such as fever of 38 °C or higher, chills, fatigue, bluish skin coloration, sore throat, hoarseness, cough, headache, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, foul-smelling and bloodstained nasal discharge, and lymphadenopathy.
Those exhibiting symptoms should be isolated from healthy people and referred to a medical facility as soon as possible.