A 6-year-old boy has been placed in intensive care due to diphtheria, which is Spain’s first recorded case of the bacterial infection in more than 25 years.
The child is currently being treated with an anti-toxin in Barcelona, but the drug was not easy to find, El País reports. The country’s Health Ministry appealed to the World Health Organization and authorities in the US before finally locating a dose in Russia.
“The problem is that these days, no one has this illness. Everyone is vaccinated,” general secretary for the health service, Rubén Moreno, told El País. The Russian ambassador to Spain brought the drug by plane from Moscow early Monday.
Caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, diphtheria most frequently infects adults over 60 and children under five. It is spread both through the air and via direct contact and can cause heart problems, nerve damage and severe respiratory distress.