Rohingya Muslim Refugees Now Face Additional Threat

WHO officials are concerned about the possibility of a diphtheria outbreak among Rohingya Muslim refugees. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled ethnic violence in Myanmar. Now, crammed into overflowing, unsanitary refugee camps in Bangladesh, they face threat of disease outbreak. WHO documented at least two potential cases of diphtheria at the end of last month, and the first suspected diphtheria case disappeared during treatment. WHO officials fear further disease spread in the cramped conditions, especially since many refugees were not fully vaccinated against diphtheria as children. Health officials rushed to vaccinate refugees against cholera and measles, and now plan to rush diphtheria vaccination efforts. Diphtheria is a severely infectious disease, caused by bacteria that can produce a toxin harmful to tissues and organs.

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