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Diphtheria death toll swells to 34

LAHORE:Two more children died of diphtheria yesterday at the Institute of Child Health and Children’s Hospital, taking the death toll till today to 34.Seven-year-old Momina, a resident of Gulberg Lahore and 12-year-old Hammad of Gujranwala lost their battle of life against diphtheria at the health facility.On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had expressed his extreme displeasure over the deaths of children due to diphtheria.It’s been weeks the provincial government had approached the health ministry with the request of importing ADS from Croatia about two months back. Croatia is the only country producing ADS for the entire globe.

Earlier this month, Adviser to CM on Health Kh Salman Rafiq had directed the authorities to airlift anti diphtheria serum (ADS) from Croatia.Shahbaz Sharif said he was deeply grieved over the children’s death and the persons guilty of negligence would not be spared. The Sunday’s deaths, however, indicate the negligence is still in practice at the health department and public facilities.
The number of diphtheria-related deaths in the province during the current year has almost reached to 30. As per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, a single confirmed case of diphtheria is suggestive of an outbreak.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection in the upper respiratory tract with high mortality rate.
It is now rare in most of the developed countries.

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