First Case of Diphtheria in Spain Since 1986 After Parents Shun Vaccination

TIME

In Spain’s first recorded case of diphtheria since 1986, a six-year-old boy from the Catalan city of Olot was placed in intensive care Wednesday. Authorities confirm that despite free, widely available immunization services, the boy’s parents had opted not to vaccinate him against the bacterial infection.

The child is currently being treated with an anti-toxin in Barcelona, but the drug was not easy to find, El País reports. The country’s Health Ministry appealed to the World Health Organization and authorities in the U.S. before finally locating a dose in Russia. “The problem is that these days, no one has this illness. Everyone is vaccinated,” general secretary for the health service, Rubén Moreno, told El País. The Russian ambassador to Spain brought the drug by plane from Moscow early Monday.

Caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, diphtheria most frequently infects adults over 60 and children under five. It is spread…

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