Nigeria disease control agency confirms outbreak of diphtheria, calls for caution

Nigeria disease control agency confirms outbreak of diphtheria, calls for caution

The Nigerian disease control agency has announced an outbreak of diphtheria in the capital, Abuja, after the death of a four-year-old child.

According to health experts, the highly contagious infection can cause breathing problems and heart issues that can be fatal, particularly among the younger ones.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), said there have been various outbreaks across the country since late last year.

In an official press statement signed by the Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa also disclosed that 654 cases of the 798 confirmed cases were not vaccinated.

Despite diphtheria being covered under the country’s normal childhood immunization program, the vast majority of incidents were among those who had not been immunized.

The NCDC urged the public to remain vigilant and ensure that people with symptoms report early to health facilities for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

The statement stated that: “As of June 30th, 2023, there have been 798 confirmed diphtheria cases from 33 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in eight (8) States including the FCT.

“Most of the cases (782) were recorded in Kano. Other States with cases are Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Kaduna, and Osun. The majority (71.7 per cent) of the 798 confirmed cases occurred among children aged 2 – 14 years. So far, a total of 80 deaths have been recorded among all confirmed cases (case fatality rate of 10.0 per cent).

“Just like in other States reporting cases, we are working with the FCT Health and Human Services Department to implement control measures and avert the further spread of the disease.

“The key activities include but are not limited to active case finding in health facilities and communities, and risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) activities to raise awareness of diphtheria. Sample collection is also ongoing among suspected cases of diphtheria.

“As of 3rd of July 2023, only 1 confirmed case has been detected, with 7 suspected cases testing negative.

“While others are awaiting laboratory results. No other death was recorded apart from the laboratory-confirmed case.

The NCDC advised individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria to isolate themselves and notify their LGA, State disease surveillance officer (DSNO), their State Ministry of Health helpline, or the NCDC through our toll-free line on 6232.

The statement added that healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, support staff etc.) with a high level of exposure to cases of diphtheria should be vaccinated against diphtheria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.