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Vaccine. 2009 Dec 10;28(1):14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.09.094. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

A review of the international issues surrounding the availability and demand for diphtheria antitoxin for therapeutic use.

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Immunisation, Hepatitis and Blood Safety Department, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK.


Diphtheria treatment requires early administration of diphtheria antitoxin (DAT), an immunoglobulin preparation that neutralises circulating diphtheria toxin. Here, we review issues relating to the supply and use of DAT and assess its availability by means of an international survey. Results showed that several countries do not currently hold DAT stockpiles due to low prevalence, and hence perceived risk of diphtheria, and/or difficulties in obtaining DAT supplies. The potential for importation of cases into any country exists globally, since diphtheria remains endemic in many regions. It is therefore important that DAT be readily available - particularly since waning diphtheria immunity has been observed among adult populations in countries with good vaccination coverage. Options for diphtheria therapy are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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