A five-year-old Peruvian girl this week was diagnosed as the first case of diphtheria in the country in the last 20 years died after suffering severe heart complications, according to official sources reported this Saturday.
The minor’s father had previously confirmed to the newspaper The Republic that his daughter died around midnight this Friday at the Dos de Mayo Hospital, in Lima, and pointed out that had recently received a dose of diphtheria antitoxin treatment.
“I want the doctors to explain to me what has happened, why they put that (the dose) on him if he was not going to resist,” said the man.
Given this information, the Dos de Mayo Hospital assured this Saturday, in a statement, that the little girl suffered “complex and persistent” cardiac arrhythmias in recent days and that they “did not yield” to the intensive treatment that was administered.
“The Dos de Mayo National Hospital deeply regrets this loss for the family and is committed to continuing to support it. At the same time, reaffirms its commitment to continue fighting for the life and health of the population“said the pronouncement.
This Friday, the health authorities had already reported that the girl had diphtheria myocarditis that posed a risk to their health.
The deputy director of the Dos de Mayo Hospital, Carlos Cueva, assured at that time that there was a risk that this condition could persist and produce a greater complication, so the health personnel were attentive to its evolution.
For his part, the head of the General Directorate for Strategic Interventions in Public Health (Digiesp), Aldo Lucchetti, explained that diphtheria antitoxin blocks the damage caused by bacteria that mainly affects the pharynx, heart and brain of people with the disease.
After the case was confirmed last Tuesday, Peru received a full dose of diphtheria antitoxin from Colombia on Thursday, a treatment based on antibodies that help block the damage caused by the bacteria that cause this disease.
The Dos de Mayo Hospital 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 helpAccording 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 nationwide, “said Deputy Minister of Health Luis Suárez 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 fence 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 around their home