Multiple cases of diphtheria, a rare disease thought to have been wiped out by an effective vaccination strategy, have cropped up in Queensland sparking official warnings from health authorities.
Queensland Health has confirmed two cases of non-contagious diphtheria diagnosed on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane this week.
"Cases of diphtheria are rare in Australia, due to the introduction of an effective vaccine," a Queensland Health spokesman told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
The two new cases bring the state’s total number of diphtheria diagnoses in Queensland to six this year so far, more than double previous years.
In the early 1900s, diphtheria caused more deaths in Australia than any other infectious disease, says the Federal Government's Health website.
It is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease that usually affects the upper respiratory tract, but can also infect the skin.
The Queensland father of one of those infected blamed the rise of anti-vaccination movements for his son’s condition and believes that the only reason his child is responding to treatment is because he was fully vaccinated.
"My children are fully immunised and they are probably luck they are,” the father, who wished to remain anonymous told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
"If he hadn't been immunised, he might not be here today. This disease shouldn't be here in Australia."
According to the Mayo Clinic, Diphtheria signs and symptoms usually begin two to five days after a person becomes infected and may include:
A thick, gray membrane covering your throat and tonsils.
A sore throat and hoarseness.
Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in your neck.
Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
Fever and chills.