Diphtheria cases in war-torn Yemen 'top 1,300'

Diphtheria cases in war-torn Yemen 'top 1,300'
1 min read
19 March, 2018
Diphtheria was first reported in Yemen last October and is a contagious and potentially fatal disease that infects the throat and airways.
The UN has called Yemen the "world's worst humanitarian crisis". [Getty]

A diphtheria outbreak in war-torn Yemen has spread rapidly across the country, infecting more than 1,300 people, the World Health Organisation said.

Children and young adults account for nearly 80 percent of cases with more than 70 people dying in the epidemic, the WHO said.

Diphtheria was first reported in Yemen last October and is a contagious and potentially fatal disease that infects the throat and airways.

A vaccination campaign targeting 2.7 million Yemeni children has been completed 11 governorates, the WHO said.

Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states in a war against Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels in March 2015, who overran Yemen's capital and forced the internationally-recognised government into exile. 

The kingdom has faced mounting international criticism of its bombing campaign due to its devastating toll on Yemen's civilian population.

Fighting, sieges and boming have led to the collapse of the country's infrastructure which has pushed 8.4 million to the brink of famine. 

The UN has called Yemen the "world's worst humanitarian crisis". 

Between April 2017 to February 2018, more than 1,060,000 suspected cases of cholera and 2,250 deaths have been reported in Yemen, WHO said.

It has become the biggest cholera outbreak in recent history.