Nigeria records 13,204 suspected cases of diphtheria


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said as  of  October 3,  the country recorded 13,204 suspected cases of diphtheria.

At a press briefing held at the headquarters of NPHCDA, Tuesday, the two agencies said out of the suspected cases, 8,406 were confirmed from 114 local government areas (LGAs) across 19 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The director general of NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, who gave the surveillance updates Tuesday at the diphtheria taskforce’s inaugural press briefing said

Meanwhile, a recent situation report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that Nigeria is currently facing a second wave of diphtheria outbreak with a total of 4,717 confirmed cases out of 8,353 suspected cases as of 15 September.

The global body observed an increase in the affected population with a rise in the number of confirmed cases and related deaths.

Giving a further breakdown of the diphtheria cases at the press briefing, the NCDC DG noted that of there are  8,406 confirmed cases and 6,202 (73.7 per cent) were aged one to 14 years.

He added that with 7,188 cases, Kano state in the North-west accounted for 86 per cent of the total 8,406 confirmed cases, adding that Yobe state followed on the log of infections with 775 cases, while Katsina and Borno recorded 232 and 118 cases.

He stated further that Jigawa state recorded 23 infections, followed by Bauchi, 20; Kaduna, 17; Lagos, eight; FCT, six; Gombe, five; while Osun and Sokoto states recorded three cases each. Niger state also  recorded two cases, while six states: Cross River, Enugu, Imo, Nasarawa, Zamfara, and Kebbi recorded a single case each.

Mr Adetifa said the national diphtheria taskforce deployed National Rapid Response Teams (NRRT) last week to Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Jigawa and Zamfara to support the outbreak response in the states.

He said records have shown that most of the confirmed cases in the country were those unvaccinated against diphtheria.

He said: “Of the 8,406 confirmed cases, 5,371 (64 per cent) are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, 966 (11 per cent) with unknown vaccination status while 2,069 (25 per cent) are fully vaccinated against diphtheria.

“The recently deployed NRRT is offering on-site surveillance and response support to affected states in areas of active case search in communities and health facilities.

“Security challenges are however limiting accessibility of some teams to some locations in affected LGAs across states.”

The symptoms of diphtheria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and neck swelling. In severe cases, NCDC said a thick grey or white patch appears on the tonsils and/or at the back of the throat which is associated with difficulty in breathing.

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