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Health Department Battles Rare Case of Diphtheria

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Health Department is dealing with a rare case of diphtheria.

It’s a five-year-old boy from Ethiopia who has the illness, according to St. Louis Health Department Communicable Disease chief Dale Rigley.

“If it’s not treated, it can be deadly,” Rigley said. “It has a fatality rate of about five to ten percent in children under 5, and in adults over 40 the fatality rate raises to about 20 percent.

Rigley says the boy came to St. Louis as part of a family of five from a refugee camp in late September. He’s on antibiotics and doing well.

As a precaution, his family is also on antibiotics, as are three staff members each at the Department of Health and the International Institute.

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