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5 deaths, 18 suspected cases of diphtheria in Odisha, says official

Bhubaneswar (Odisha): Director of Public Health, Odisha Nilakantha Mishra on Wednesday said that 5 deaths and 18 suspected cases of diphtheria were detected in Odisha.

He also added that the vaccination for diphtheria started on Wednesday.

Director of Public Health, Odisha Nilakantha Mishra told ANI, "In Koraput, only 1 case has been detected... In Kalahandi, there are 5 patients with cough and cold, out of which, 2 may be suffering from Diphtheria... The total number of suspected cases was 21, but it has come down to 18... The total no. of deaths remains at 5, it has not increased... The vaccination has started from today."

Earlier, Director of Public Health, Odisha Nilakantha Mishra had said that Public Health department is doing a house-to-house survey and verifying the vaccination status after 5 deaths were reported in Odisha due to diphtheria in Rayagada district's Kashipur area.

"There are five deaths in that area, 10 others are affected but stable and they are under treatment... We are doing a house-to-house survey and verifying the vaccination status," the Director of Public Health, Odisha, said.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. If left untreated, it can prove fatal.

Diphtheria, a vaccine-preventable disease, is caused by strains of a bacterium called 'Corynebacterium diphtheria' that make toxins. The disease can lead to breathing, heart rhythm problems and even death.

Diphtheria is mainly spread by coughs and sneezes, or through close contact with someone who is infected and material objects (toys or clothes) used by the person already contracted diphtheria. 

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