Current situation and control strategies for resurgence of diphtheria in newly independent states of the former Soviet Union

Lancet. 1996 Jun 22;347(9017):1739-44. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(96)90811-9.


Since 1990, an epidemic of diphtheria has spread throughout the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, and by 1995 a total of 47 808 cases were reported. During the early stages of the epidemic, adequate control measures were not taken and vaccine was in short supply; possible contributing factors to the spread of the epidemic are the presence of highly susceptible child and adult populations, socioeconomic instability, population movement, and a deteriorating health infrastructure. Although WHO views the epidemic as an International public-health emergency and, together with UNICEF and the International Red Cross, has formulated a strategy to combat the epidemic, the necessary funds have not been made fully available. Current vaccination recommendations also need to be reviewed to ensure that population immunity will be adequate to prevent any resurgence of diphtheria in Europe and North America.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Diphtheria / epidemiology*
  • Diphtheria / mortality
  • Diphtheria / prevention & control
  • Diphtheria Toxoid / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • USSR / epidemiology


  • Diphtheria Toxoid