Lothian diphtheria cases spark warning to check on vaccinations

People urged to visit fitfortravel website before going abroad

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 6:00 am
In Lothian, 98 per cent of children are vaccinated against diphtheria by the age of 24 months.
In Lothian, 98 per cent of children are vaccinated against diphtheria by the age of 24 months.

PEOPLE heading abroad have been urged to check their vaccinations are up to date before they travel after two Lothian patients recently returned from a trip were diagnosed with potentially deadly diphtheria.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick told MSPs all close contacts of the two patients had been identified, contacted and followed up in line with national guidelines.

He said: “The likelihood of any additional cases is very small, as most people are protected by immunisation given in childhood. In Lothian, 98 per cent of children are vaccinated against diphtheria by the age of 24 months.

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Joe FitzPatrick said people should be fully vaccinated against the disease before going abroad

“The best way to avoid diphtheria while travelling is to be fully vaccinated against it. We encourage people who intend to travel abroad to visit the fitfortravel website, where they can access information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad, as well as destination-specific health advice.”

South of Scotland Tory MSP Michellle Ballantyne, who had raised the issue during questions at the Scottish Parliament, said getting children vaccinated when young was vital.

And she added: “People across the country should check that their vaccinations are up to date, particularly for diseases such as diphtheria, which requires a 10-year booster, especially if they are not sure.”

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Two patients suffering from diphtheria in Edinburgh hospital