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Kano, Yobe top list as Nigeria records 8,406 diphtheria cases in 19 states

Kano, Yobe top list as Nigeria records 8,406 diphtheria cases in 19 states
October 03
22:24 2023

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 8,406 cases of diphtheria have been recorded in Nigeria.

Giving surveillance updates at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Ifedayo Adetifa, NCDC director general (DG), said the cases were confirmed from 114 LGAs in 19 states, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

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

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


Adetifa said the states that have recorded cases include Kano – 7,188 (86%), Yobe – 775, Katsina – 232, Borno – 118, Jigawa -23, Bauchi -20, Kaduna – 17, Lagos – 8, and FCT – 6.

Others are Gombe – 5, Osun – 3, Sokoto – 3, Niger – 2, Cross River -1, Enugu – 1, Imo – 1, Nasarawa – 1, Zamfara – 1, Kebbi -1.

“Our records have shown that most of the confirmed cases of diphtheria in the country were unvaccinated against diphtheria. Of the 8,406 confirmed cases, 5,371 (64%) are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, 966 (11%) with unknown vaccination status while 2,069 (25%) are fully vaccinated against diphtheria,” he said.


“Currently, we have 14 laboratories in the diphtheria laboratory network with capacity to support diphtheria testing.

“Optimisation of five additional laboratories at the subnational is currently ongoing.

“We have conducted training for laboratory personnel at the sub-national level on laboratory diagnostic processes, quality assurance, biosafety and biosecurity procedures, and data management.”

Adetifa said agency is continually developing and disseminating public health advisories on the disease.


He added that the centre also engages school heads, community and religious leaders on diphtheria prevention, noting that control measures in communities have been engaged in Kano state.

“We have developed and disseminated standard operating procedures for diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) use in health facilities and treatment centres,” the DG said.

“With support from partners and in collaboration with the state ministry of health, we have established diphtheria treatment centres/wards in affected states.

“For the first time in any outbreak, the government has made diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) and now IV erythromycin available.


“These have resulted in a significant reduction in case fatality rate from about 40% during the earlier part of the outbreak when access to DAT was highly limited to about 6% now.

”We, therefore, encourage the public or individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria to promptly present to a healthcare facility or designated diphtheria treatment centres.


“The most effective protection against diphtheria is vaccination with the pentavalent or TD vaccine.

“The federal government of Nigeria provides free, safe and effective vaccines at all primary healthcare enters nationwide.


“We invite the public to take advantage of the ongoing vaccination occurring in all states.

“Parents and caregivers, in the states where the vaccination campaign is ongoing, are kindly advised to take their children aged 0 – 14 years to the nearest government health facility to get vaccinated.”


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