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Two found to have potentially-deadly diphtheria infection

NHS Lothian said the patients had recently returned from abroad and the cases were related.

Diphtheria: Two patients treated.
Diphtheria: Two patients treated. Pixabay

Two people in Scotland have been identified as having the potentially-fatal diphtheria infection.

NHS Lothian said the two cases are related and that both patients had recently returned from abroad.

People who have been in close contact with the patients have been notified.

According to the NHS, diphtheria is a highly contagious infection which can be passed through coughing or sneezing or through close contact with someone who is infected.

The health board added the likelihood of additional cases was small, as most people are immunised against diphtheria at a young age.

'Two related cases of diphtheria have been confirmed in the Lothian area, with both patients having recently returned from abroad.'
Alison McCallum, NHS Lothian

The potentially-fatal infection can affect the nose and throat as well as the skin.

Symptoms include a thick grey-white coating at the back of the throat, a fever, difficulty breathing or swallowing and blisters and ulcers on legs, feet and hands if it affects the skin.

Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian said: "Two related cases of diphtheria have been confirmed in the Lothian area, with both patients having recently returned from abroad.

"All close contacts of these patients have been identified, contacted and followed up in line with nationally agreed guidelines.

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

"We encourage people travelling abroad to visit Fit for Travel where they can access information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad, as well as destination specific health advice."

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