Since the advent of vaccines, many lives have been saved, but some parents still refuse to immunize their children for a number of reason ranging from concerns of risks involved in receiving the shot to their religious beliefs.
The consequence of that decision has proven fatal for a boy from Olot, Spain who was just six years of age. He died from diphtheria, which was the first case of that disease in Spain since 1987.
The child was admitted at the end of May to the pediatric intensive care unit, at a hospital in Spain and died on Saturday. He had not been vaccinated against diphtheria due to his parents not wanting their child to be inoculated amidst the controversies over the potential ill effects of the shot.
The treatment for the boy experienced delays due to difficulties in receiving the correct antitoxin within Europe. Eventually Russia provided it.
Health service in the Catalonia region of Spain said one adult and nine children had been exposed to the deadly bacteria but were lucky to have not developed diphtheria due to them all being vaccinated.
In Spain, the vaccination rates are high, but experts in medicine continue to urge all parents to inoculate their children. While some concerns remain over side effects from vaccinations, severe reactions are considered extremely rare.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that affects the nose and throat. It is caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheria bacterium. The condition could lead to a coating known as pseudomembrane building up inside the throat or nose, which makes it difficult to breathe and swallow.
The sickness can lead to paralysis, heart failure, difficulty in breathing and death. Symptoms of the sickness include fever, sore throat, swollen neck glands and weakness.
Diphtheria is contagious and can be spread from person to person through sneezing and coughing. The infection can be contracted as well when an individual comes into contract with an object that had been contaminated by the bacteria that cause it.
Although very infectious, the disease has become increasingly rare across much of western Europe due to the high rate of vaccinations.
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