Epidemic diphtheria in Belarus, 1992-1997.J Infect Dis. 2000 Feb; 181 Suppl 1:S41-6.JI
In 1990, epidemic diphtheria reemerged in Russia and spread to Belarus in 1992, when 66 cases were reported. Diphtheria cases doubled each year in 1993 and 1994 and peaked in 1995, when 322 cases were reported. Intensified routine immunization of young children and mass vaccination of older children and selected groups of adults were conducted in 1995 and were followed by mass vaccination campaigns targeting all adults in 1996. By the end of 1996, full immunization of >95% of children and coverage of>87% of adults with >/=1 dose resulted in a rapid decline in diphtheria cases. In 1998, only 36 cases of diphtheria were reported. More than 70% of the 965 cases and 26 fatalities reported during 1990-1998 occurred among persons >14 years of age. High levels of immunity among the entire population are needed for rapid control of diphtheria epidemics in the vaccine era.