SANAA, April 3 (YPA) – A diphtheria outbreak has killed 84 people in Yemen since late October, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s media officer Sadek al-Wosabi told Yemen Press Agency on Tuesday.
In a statement, the UN agency said some 1,516 suspected cases of diphtheria have been registered in 20 of Yemen’s 23 provinces.
It listed Ibb and al-Hodeida provinces in central and western Yemen as the hardest-hit by the disease.
Diphtheria spreads as easily as the common cold through sneezing, coughing or even talking, according to health officials.
Mainly affecting children, diphtheria can cause devastating epidemics if left unchecked.
Yemeni health authorities have recently launched a major vaccination campaign across the country in an effort to avert the growing spread of the disease.
Yemen has been racked by violence since 2014, and the conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthis’ gains.
The ongoing violence has devastated basic services, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation in Yemen as one of “the world’s worst humanitarian disasters in modern times”.