A mass immunisation campaign has been launched after at least 722 “probable” cases and nine deaths.
Diphtheria continues to rapidly spread in Bangladesh’s swelling Rohingya refugee camps, with aid groups predicting the number of suspected cases – reported at more than 700 as of this week – could multiply every few days, testing already strained resources in the densely packed settlements.
The World Health Organization says there have been at least 722 “probable diphtheria cases” and nine deaths over the last month. Conditions in the crowded refugee camps are ripe for the spread of disease, and aid groups fear the reported cases may well be the “tip of the iceberg”.
“The extremely congested conditions in the camps, low immunisation coverage of the refugees, the lack of clean water and proper sanitation facilities are conducive to a rapid spread of the epidemic, with the number of cases expected to double every three to five days,” the European Union’s humanitarian aid arm, ECHO, reported this week.