While officials are yet to identify the source of the infection, they suspect that one student was exposed to it while tending to a patient in the clinic.

25 Karnataka medical students who contracted diphtheria discharged Image for representation
news Health Friday, September 06, 2019 - 16:04

The medical students from Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) in Karnataka, who were admitted to the hospital after having contracted diphtheria, have now recovered. Of the 25 female students, five had been treated on an outpatient basis as they were stable, while the remaining 20 were admitted to the hospital for further treatment.

“All students who were availing treatment have made good recovery and have been discharged. We are yet to figure out the source of the infection, but suspect that one of the students was exposed to a patient with diphtheria at the clinic. This host student stays in a hostel and we suspect that it spread to the other students in the hostel,” said Dr MK Patil, Kalaburagi District Health Officer (DHO).

Diphtheria is an extremely contagious bacterial disease, which causes immense throat pain and can also result in a compromised respiratory passage (particularly in young children). Despite vaccination efforts against diphtheria, more cases are now being reported.

Officials believe the GIMS outbreak may have occurred either because the students were not vaccinated at all or did not receive a booster dose.

The vaccine for diphtheria can be given as a pentavalent vaccine, which is effective against five diseases, including diphtheria. It can also be given as a trivalent DTaP vaccine, which protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Booster doses are generally given as a DT (diphtheria and tetanus) vaccine, which offers immunity against diphtheria and tetanus. 

Diphtheria is caused by an organism called  Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The other symptoms of diphtheria include severe throat pain or a sore throat, weakness, swollen glands in the neck region, and also fever.

Earlier, in August, around 50 people from Tamil Nadu were admitted to the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital after having contracted the infection.

Also read: Diphtheria alert in Tamil Nadu: Why so many cases are being seen now 

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