An unvaccinated 15-year-old boy died of diphtheria Saturday in Kerala’s Malappuram district, where the Muslim community is known to be reluctant to immunisation.
Medical officer Dr Ummer Farook said the district has recorded two clinically-confirmed diphtheria cases this year.
“Today’s victim was a student of an Arabic college. As many as 98 other students in the institution have not taken any vaccine due to resistance from within the community. However, after one student fell ill, others were willing.”
Last year, five diphtheria cases, two of which resulted in deaths, had been reported in the Malappuram district. A health department survey conducted in the district last year revealed that there are 1.72 lakh unvaccinated children in the 7-15 years age group, said Dr Farook.
A meeting is slated to be held Monday to find ways to blunt the opposition to vaccination drives.