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Diphtheria Fear Hits Greece After 8-Year-old Dies

November 30, 2019

ATHENS – Greece’s medical authorities went on alert after the death of an 8-year-old boy in a hospital amid fears it could be diptheria – thought eradicated three decades earlier in the country – although he had been vaccinated for the disease.

He was being treated in the intensive care unit of the Athens General Children’s Hospital and doctors became alarmed after lab tests showed it could be diptheria, which creates a thick gray coating in the throat making it difficult.

Greek medical officials were waiting for results from the United Kingdom’s Public Health England agency to confirm the cause after they said he died of acute respiratory infection, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary edema.
The child, said to have been in the care of a foster family for three years, was admitted to the hospital Nov. 22 with symptoms of acute laryngitis and severe respiratory distress and his deteriorating condition prompted doctors to place him in the ICU, said Kathimerini.

Despite initial reports he was only partially vaccinated against diphtheria, sources from the National Health Organization (EODY) told the paper he had received all five necessary shots without an explanation why he contracted the illness nevertheless.

The European Commission was set to present the 2019 State of Health in the European Union report which examines health care systems in the 28-country bloc, including Greece, said Euractiv.

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