Diphtheria still exists in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, Central and South East Asia where unvaccinated individuals are at risk and are a potential risk to travellers. Therefore we strongly recommend vaccinations are kept up to date for tetanus, polio and diphtheria. A diphtheria outbreak in Yemen reported by the WHO was as recent as March 2018, resulting in 73 deaths.
Diphtheria is spread via respiratory droplets and affects the respiratory tract and contact from skin lesions. It is a dangerous bacterial infection. Diphtheria toxin can damage your heart and potentially cause multi-organ failure even weeks later.
The toxins Diphtheria releases cause inflammation to your respiratory system. It covers the back of the throat and tonsils and can form a thick membrane which makes breathing difficult and is extremely serious and can be fatal if the airway is blocked. It can also infect skin injuries and wounds where pus-filled spots appear. They can become ulcers and lead to scars, if not appropriately treated.
Ten-yearly boosters of vaccine should be given for travellers to endemic areas particularly for aid workers i.e. health and education workers and volunteers. (It is important to remember that adults lose protection from childhood vaccines and need to have boosters if it has not already been done in the last year.)
We strongly recommend aid workers undergo the complete vaccination schedule followed by antibody testing for confirmation of immunity.
Poor sanitation and living conditions combined with a lack of an immunisation programme in the affected regions increases your risk, and if you plan to stay for over a month and never received a diphtheria booster over 10 years ago, you should repeat a booster (Revaxis: is a combination vaccine and also protects against tetanus and polio.)
14 yrs: Tetanus, diphtheria and poliomyelitis.
By the mid teens, 5 doses of vaccine should have been received with boosters every 10 years if required prior to travel.
Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol hand gel.
Avoid hand contact with the nose, mouth and eyes.
Stay away from direct contact with people who are unwell and do not use their personal items.
Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of them appropriately and keep your personal hygiene well maintained.
Diphtheria was responsible for over 200,000 sickness and death in the U.S. during the 1920s especially children. Fortunately a vaccine has been developed, reducing the numbers of diphtheria cases by 99.9%. Currently, there are only a few regions in the world where people can contract this disease.
Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection known to cause some severe complications. If caught early, it is possible to treat the infection with antibiotics. However, because of its high toxicity and infection rate, it is very important to be vaccinated and an absolute must for children with undeveloped immune systems.
Currently, there are four types of vaccines. These are the DTaP vaccine, DT vaccine, Tdap vaccine, and Td vaccine. Each type of vaccine works for individuals or categories appropriate for you. You need to consult with our doctor to determine which of these you should have.
People with diphtheria usually have a thick, grey-white coating in their throat.
Travellers should have completed the national schedule of vaccines throughout their life in the UK. This means that by the mid teens, 5 doses of vaccine giving protection against diphtheria should have been received. If you have not done so and have emigrated from another country please discuss this with the doctor who will be happy to advise what vaccinations are necessary for your safety.
Travellers should have had the primary course of vaccine and receive a booster every 10 years if travelling to an area where diphtheria, is a high risk.
Please be aware that as you age your immune system is not as good so in reality after a certain age we would strongly advise against going to areas where Diphtheria incidents are a high risk and if you contract it you will not necessary recover as well either.
It is important to speak with the doctor at least a couple of months before your trip as updates and changes do happen periodically. Also the requirements depend on your length of stay, any pre-existing health conditions and your health generally. Discussing this with our doctor will ensure that you are adequately covered and receive the necessary up-to-date vaccines and medicines for your protection.
Our clinic can help you get the right and recommended vaccines at affordable prices. (See our prices and fees page for more information). Our vaccines are consistently updated depending on the current requirements.
You can feel confident that you are in safe hands. We work side by side with the health authorities to make sure we provide you with all the vaccines you need for safe travel.
Our clinic is registered and certified to administer Yellow Fever vaccines and will provide you with the necessary documentation for entry into certain countries that insist on it.
If you follow the correct advice and appropriate health cover to remote areas, your visit will be an uneventful and enjoyable one.
Our website provides the latest information on vaccine requirement and additional medications for the rest of the world. Check out the rest of the pages on this site to learn about the vaccines needed and additional medicines required for destinations abroad and to other areas. An excellent website we recommend is the Fitfortravel NHS website where you can get the latest and the most comprehensive information to keep you safe.
All information has been licensed under the Open Government Licence. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/