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Pediatric Diphtheria Outbreak of Maternity and Children Hospital, Eastern Region, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, August 2018: A Case Report.


On the 23rd of July 2018, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health was notified of a newly case diagnosed as respiratory diphtheria infection, among non-Saudi patients who attend Dammam Maternity and children hospital. The patient was symptomatic, complaining of shortness of breath, runny nose and barking cough 5 days prior to presentation. We sought to identify the possible source of diphtheria infection, and to identify any additional cases of diphtheria


We defined a case as a patient with an upper respiratory tract infection with clinical signs or symptoms consistent with diphtheria, and positive laboratory result in Dammam region, between July 8, 2018-August 8, 2018. We interviewed family members of the case for any illness history, and we conducted an environmental investigation. We reviewed available medical records for the case from Dammam Maternity and children hospital.


We identified one confirmed case out of 40 unvaccinated susceptible patients contact (attack rate = 2.5%). Contact tracing identified 13 symptomatic contacts, who reported symptoms including cough, fever and sore throat. Contact tracing also identified Number of 10 culture positive. the case patient died due to respiratory arrest. The family members of the case were not vaccinated.


We identified that all the family were not vaccinated except for at birth vaccine. Although the family was eligible for free vaccination, they were not aware of the vaccine's efficacy. The positive throat culture which were obtained from the contacts could not be confirmed because of supply shortage for media that used in sampling culture. recommendation of documented available policies was suggested to improve handling of such cases to decrease the risk of transmission of respiratory diphtheria cases.