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‘Kano, Lagos, Yobe’ — NCDC confirms 789 diphtheria cases, 80 deaths in eight states

‘Kano, Lagos, Yobe’ — NCDC confirms 789 diphtheria cases, 80 deaths in eight states
July 06
13:02 2023

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has recorded 789 cases of diphtheria in Nigeria as of June 30.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by the corynebacterium species that affect the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.

Some symptoms of diphtheria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty in breathing.

To curtail the infection, the Nigeria childhood immunisation schedule recommends three doses of pentavalent vaccine (diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine) for children in the 6th, 10th and 14th week of life.


In a statement on Thursday, the agency said cases were recorded in 33 LGAs across eight states — Kano, Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Kaduna, Osun and the federal capital territory (FCT).

Most of the cases were recorded in Kano while 71.7 percent of the confirmed cases occurred among children aged two to 14 years.

So far, a total of 80 deaths have been recorded among all confirmed cases.


The NCDC said despite the availability of a safe and cost-effective vaccine for diphtheria in the country, 82 percent of 798 confirmed diphtheria cases were unvaccinated.

The agency said in response to the outbreak, it established a multi-sectoral national diphtheria technical working group as a mechanism for coordinating surveillance and response activities across the country.

The NCDC said for the first time in over two decades, the country procured diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) in-country and distributed it to the affected states.

The agency advised that parents should ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria.


“Individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria should 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 reads.

“Individuals who have come in close contact with a confirmed case of diphtheria should be closely monitored, given antibiotics prophylaxis, and started on diphtheria treatment when indicated.”

Response to FCT Outbreak

A few days ago, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) announced the outbreak of diphtheria infection in Abuja following the death of a four-year-old.

The NCDC said it is working with the FCT health and human services department to implement control measures and avert the further spread of the disease.


“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 statement reads.

“We urge the public to remain vigilant and ensure persons with symptoms of diphtheria present early to health facilities for prompt diagnosis and treatment.”


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