Balto and Togo during the cold winter of Alaska (1925): the two canine heroes in the fight against diphtheria.


history of vaccines


In recent years, diphtheria has re-emerged in areas with inadequate vaccination coverage, and Europe has not been spared with several cases among migrants. Diphtheria is a potentially fatal infection caused mainly by toxigenic strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Due to the high mortality rate, especially among young children, the fight against diphtheria is considered one of the first conquests of immunization. In the history of medicine, there is a unique case of an unconventional response to a diphtheria outbreak in which sled dogs were used to overcome the supply difficulties of diphtheria antitoxin. The mass media followed the medical response to the outbreak and raised audience awareness of public health issues. The facts of Nome, Alaska, in 1925 can serve as a catalyst to rethink conventional responses to diphtheria outbreaks in low-income countries today and promote mass media awareness of public health importance.


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