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Ongoing diphtheria outbreak in Yemen: a cross-sectional and genomic epidemiology study

Abstract : An outbreak of diphtheria, declared in Yemen in October, 2017, is ongoing. We did a cross-sectional study to investigate the epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological features of the outbreak. Probable cases of diphtheria that were defined clinically and recorded through a weekly electronic diseases early warning system (from 2017, week 22, to 2020, week 17) were used to identify trends of the outbreak (we divided the epidemic into three time periods: May 29, 2017, to June 10, 2018; June 11, 2018, to June 3, 2019; and June 4, 2019, to April 26, 2020). We used the line list of diphtheria reports for governorate-level descriptions. Vaccination coverage was estimated using the 2017 and 2018 annual reports by the national Expanded Programme on Immunization. To confirm cases biologically, Corynebacterium diphtheriae was isolated and identified from throat swabs using standard microbiological culture and identification procedures. We assessed differences in the temporal and geographical distributions of cases, including between different age groups. For in-depth microbiological analysis, tox gene and species-specific rpoB real-time PCR, Illumina genomic sequencing, antimicrobial susceptibility analysis (disk diffusion, E-test), and the Elek diphtheria toxin production test were done on confirmed cases. We used genomic data for phylogenetic analyses and to estimate the nucleotide substitution rate.
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https://hal-pasteur.archives-ouvertes.fr/pasteur-03239537
Contributor : Isabelle Moulherat <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 3:15:47 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 27, 2021 - 2:20:04 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, August 28, 2021 - 7:37:38 PM

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Edgar Badell, Abdulilah Alharazi, Alexis Criscuolo, Khaled Almoayed, Noémie Lefrancq, et al.. Ongoing diphtheria outbreak in Yemen: a cross-sectional and genomic epidemiology study. The Lancet Microbe, Elsevier, 2021, ⟨10.1016/s2666-5247(21)00094-x⟩. ⟨pasteur-03239537⟩

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