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Peru: Girl dies with first case of diphtheria in 20 years

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  • Peru: Girl dies with first case of diphtheria in 20 years


    Girl dies with first case of diphtheria in Peru in 20 years
    Drafting El Mercurio -
    November 1, 2020

    A five-year-old Peruvian girl who this week was diagnosed with the first case of diphtheria in the country in the last 20 years died after suffering cardiac arrest, local media reported.

    The father of the minor confirmed to the newspaper La Rep?blica that her daughter died around midnight this Friday at the Dos de Mayo Hospital in Lima, and pointed out that shortly before she had received a dose of diphtheria antitoxin treatment.

    "I want the doctors to explain to me what happened, why did they put that (dose) on him if he wasn't going to resist," said the man.

    Given this information, sources from the Dos de Mayo Hospital assured that during this Saturday they will give details of the death of the minor, who had previously only received one of the three doses of the diphtheria vaccine.


    This Friday, the health authorities had already reported that the girl had diphtheria myocarditis that implied a risk to her health.

    The deputy director of the Dos de Mayo Hospital, Carlos Cueva, assured at that time that there was a risk that this ailment could persist and produce a greater complication, so the health personnel were attentive to its evolution.

    For his part, the director of the General Directorate for Strategic Interventions in Public Health (Digiesp), Aldo Lucchetti, explained that diphtheria antitoxin blocks the damage caused by the bacteria that mainly affects the pharynx, heart and brain of women. people with the disease.


    After confirming the case on Tuesday, Peru received on Thursday a full dose of diphtheria antitoxin sent from Colombia, a treatment based on antibodies that help block the damage caused by the bacteria that cause this disease.

    Hospital Dos de Mayo also received through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) a training of specialists from Venezuela in the use and treatment of diphtheria cases with antitoxin.

    In addition to the health cooperation of Colombia and Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil also offered their help, according to Lucchetti, who said that diphtheria "is a complex disease" that was not seen "for a long time in the country."


    The Peruvian authorities launched a health alert last Tuesday after confirming this case in Lima, since it was considered that diphtheria had been eradicated in the country.

    “We are investigating how the disease reappeared. We already know that the patient and her family have not left Lima, although they have received visits in recent weeks from people from the interior of the country. That is why the alert is at the national level, "said Deputy Minister of Health Luis Su?rez on Wednesday.

    The Ministry of Health reported that more than 5,300 people were vaccinated against diphtheria in recent days, as part of the epidemiological siege that it deployed in the areas surrounding the girl's home, in the Lima district of La Victoria.

    The immunization was also applied to another 137 people who work in the Pediatric Emergency, General Emergency and pediatric intensive care areas of Hospital Dos de Mayo.

    The Vice Minister of Health added that some 40 diagnostic samples have been taken from the girl's relatives and their close contacts, both at the parents' work and in the surroundings of their home. EFE