Nigeria records 216 confirmed diphtheria cases – NCDC


By Abujah Racheal

 Nigeria has recorded 216 diphtheria cases and 40 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC.

Dr Bola Lawal, Lead of the Diphtheria/Pertussis Technical Working Group, NCDC, confirmed that the confirmed cases were reported in four states: Kano (211), Yobe (two), Lagos (two), and Osun (two).

NAN reports that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diphtheria is 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.

Lawal said that the majority of the deaths were recorded in Kano State (38), while Lagos State recorded two deaths.

He said the agency was supporting the response activities in Kano, Lagos, Yobe, Osun, Yobe, and Katsina states.

He also said out of the 216 confirmed cases, 27 were fully vaccinated, 84 were unvaccinated, and 20 were partly vaccinated.

Lawal said: “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.

“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.”

He said 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 State.

Also, he said, there has been harmonisation of surveillance and laboratory data from across states and laboratories with the sensitisation/training of clinical and surveillance officers on the presentation, prevention, and surveillance for diphtheria in states where rapid response teams were deployed.

Meanwhile, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, stressed: “surveillance is everybody’s responsibility; it is not just enough to see. If you see something suspicious, report it to your local government, report to NCDC, and then they can investigate.”

NAN reports that children under five and adults over 60 years old are particularly at risk for getting it.  (NAN)