The Jakarta Post
The majority of diphtheria cases nationwide show children as the infected party. However, adults should also be concerned following a recent outbreak, doctor associations have said.
The Health Ministry recently reported that the number of cases had risen from 591 in November this year to 903 as of Dec. 24, with adults accounting for 18 percent of the infected persons. The ministry has also found that the infected persons in 80 percent of the cases had not completed the series of diphtheria vaccinations.
“Adults, such as parents, relatives, peers or medical workers, who have direct contact with those who have contracted diphtheria must be vaccinated for preventative reasons,” Soedjatmiko from the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI) said on Wednesday.
Soedjatmiko also called on adults who did not undergo a complete series of vaccinations in their childhood to get vaccinated immediately.
“Mostly they do not have records of having completed immunizations during their childhood, so it is important to get vaccinated,” he said.
Similar concerns were echoed by Indonesian Doctors Associations (IDI) chairman-elect Daeng M. Faqih, who suggested that adults get revaccinated.
“Immunity will weaken overtime, [therefore] getting vaccinated, especially during an outbreak, is important to boost [adults’] antibodies,” Daeng said.
The government conducted the first phase of the outbreak response immunization (ORI) program in Jakarta, Banten and West Java on Dec. 12, following an outbreak that killed dozens of people. (nmn/ipa)