The country’s medical authorities were placed on high alert on Thursday after lab tests revealed that the death of an 8-year-old boy in the intensive care unit of the Athens General Children’s Hospital on Wednesday was possibly caused by diphtheria, a disease that was eradicated in Greece almost three decades ago.
Authorities are now waiting for results from the United Kingdom’s Public Health England agency to confirm whether the cause was indeed diphtheria.
According to the hospital announcement on Wednesday, the boy died of acute respiratory infection, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary edema.
The child was admitted to hospital on November 22 with symptoms of acute laryngitis and severe respiratory distress and his deteriorating condition prompted doctors to place him in the ICU. Despite initial reports that he was only partially vaccinated against diphtheria, sources from the National Health Organization (EODY) said he had received all five necessary shots.
The 8-year-old had been in the care of a foster family for three years.