TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Two Indonesian cities that will hold the 2018 Asian Games, Jakarta and Palembang, were ordered by the Health Ministry to be free of diphtheria before the multi-sports event commences next year.
“As many as 20 provinces and 95 districts and cities, including Palembang and South Sumatra, have reported cases related to diphtheria,” said Dr. Muhammad Subuh, Health Ministry’s Director General of Disease Prevention and Control.
Subuh asserted that this disease is a life-threateningly highly contagious and infectious disease. “I really urge that this is cleared before the 2018 Asian games are held,” he said.
Based on the Ministry’s data, there are 95 districts and cities that have reported cases related to diphtheria from January till November of 2017. The worst region hit by this disease is East Java, Banten, and Tangerang.
“South Sumatra has two hotspots. Immunization is the way to prevent the spread of diphtheria,” said Subuh.
However, South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin denied that Palembang had patients that were treated for diphtheria. “According to previous reports, there were two patients in Palembang and one from OKI District, but it turned out to be negative according to lab tests,” said Alex.