NCDC Alerts On Diphtheria Outbreak In Four States

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has said that, it responded to reports of diphtheria cases in Lagos and Kano States and was monitoring the situation in Osun and Yobe States where cases were now being picked up.

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NCDC Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday, January 20, 2023.

Adetifa stated that, in addition to clinically suspected cases, there had been laboratory confirmed cases and the NCDC was working with State Ministries of Health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.

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He said, people most at risk of contracting diphtheria included, “children and adults who have not received any or a single dose of the pentavalent vaccine (a diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine).

“People who live in a crowded environment, people who live in areas with poor sanitation, healthcare workers and others who are exposed to suspected/confirmed cases of diphtheria”.

The NCDC Boss explained that, the disease spreads easily between people through; direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing and also contact with contaminated clothing and objects.

He listed symptoms of diphtheria to include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis), neck swelling, thick grey or white patch on the tonsils and/or at the back of the
throat associated with difficulty breathing.

He therefore, advised that, parents should ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria with three (3) doses of the pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the childhood immunisation schedule.

He further said, healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, support staff etc.) should maintain a high index of suspicion for diphtheria and those with higher exposure to cases of diphtheria should be vaccinated against it.

Also, individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria should isolate themselves and notify the local government area (LGA), state disease surveillance officer (DSNO) or the NCDC through our toll-free line (6232).

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species that affects the nose, throat and sometimes, skin of an individual.

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