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In 1994, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the goal of eliminating diphtheria within the WHO European Region by the year 2000. However, in 1990 an epidemic emerged within the Russian Federation and spread to other countries, including Latvia, by 1994. We describe national surveillance and immunisation coverage data in Latvia from 1994 to 2014 and present historical data from 1946. We defined a laboratory-confirmed case as a clinical case in which toxin-producing , or was isolated. From 1994 to 2014, 1,515 cases were reported, giving an average annual incidence of 3.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (range 0.1–14.8), with the highest incidence in age groups 5–19 and 40–49 years (4.4 and 4.3/100,000, respectively); 111 deaths were reported, 83.8% cases were laboratory-confirmed. Most cases occurred in unvaccinated adults. To improve disease control a supplementary immunisation campaign for adults was initiated in 1995, and by the end of 1998 national coverage among adults reached 70%, and reached 77% in 2003, but declined to 59% by 2014. Diphtheria remains a problem in Latvia with continued circulation of toxin-producing strains of . We recommend to strengthen immunisation to cover adults, as well as the education of health professionals and a serological survey.


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