Forty people dead as Nigeria records 216 diphtheria cases
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says the country recorded 216 diphtheria cases and 40 deaths.
Bola Lawal, lead of diphtheria/pertussis technical working group, NCDC, confirmed that the confirmed cases were reported in Kano (211), Yobe (two), Lagos (two), and Osun (two).
Mr Lawal said the majority of the deaths were recorded in Kano (38), while Lagos recorded two casualties. He said the agency supported the response activities in Kano, Lagos, Yobe, Osun, Yobe, and Katsina.
He also said out of the 216 confirmed cases, 27 were fully vaccinated, 84 were unvaccinated, and 20 were partly vaccinated.
“Kano state recorded 396 suspected cases with 211 confirmed cases. Yobe state has recorded 78 suspected cases with two confirmed cases. Katsina has 34 suspected cases but no confirmed case yet. Lagos has recorded 14 suspected cases and two confirmed cases. Osun has one confirmed case so far,” Mr Lawal revealed. “We have also recorded 40 deaths with a case fatality rate of 18.5 per cent. Of the 216 confirmed cases, 184 (85.2 per cent) were aged two to 14 years from both sexes.”
The official explained that there was low immunisation for the pentavalent vaccine, poor surveillance and limited laboratory capacity to properly diagnose the disease, noting that the agency was supporting intensified activities to conduct routine immunisation among children under two years, particularly in Kano.
Also, he said, there has been harmonisation of surveillance and laboratory data from across states and laboratories with the sensitisation and training of clinical and surveillance officers on the presentation, prevention, and surveillance for diphtheria in states where rapid response teams were deployed.
Meanwhile, NCDC director-general Ifedayo Adetifa stressed that “surveillance is everybody’s responsibility.”
“If you see something suspicious, report it to your local government, report to NCDC, and then they can investigate,” Mr Adetifa explained.
The World Health Organization (WHO) described diphtheria as an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
Signs and symptoms usually start two to five days after exposure and range from mild to severe. Symptoms often come on gradually, beginning with a sore throat and fever.
Children under five and adults over 60 are particularly at risk for getting it.