The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has confirmed 123 cases of Diphtheria disease and 38 deaths in four states.
Head of Special Projects and Partnerships Unit at NCDC, Dr Pricilla Ibekwe, on Monday in Abuja during the Ministerial bi-weekly meeting on the update of COVID-19 response and development in the country’s health sector said in addition to clinically suspected cases, there had been laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease.
Ibekwe said the NCDC was working with State Ministries of Health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.
She said that based on the latest reports from states shared with the agency as of Jan. 22, about 123 confirmed cases and 38 deaths were recorded in four states.
Breakdown is: Kano – 100 confirmed cases and 32 deaths; Lagos – five cases and three deaths; Yobe – 17 cases and 3 deaths, while Osun reported a case and zero death.
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species affecting the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.
It spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people’s droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing and objects.
“People most at risk include children and adults who have not received any dose of the pentavalent vaccine.
“People who live in areas with poor sanitation, people who live in a crowded environment, and healthcare workers exposed to suspected or confirmed cases of the disease.
“The onset of signs of the disease usually starts after two to 10 days of exposure to the bacteria,” she said.
Ibekwe said that symptoms of diphtheria includes fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and neck swelling.
“In severe cases, a thick grey or white patch appears on the tonsils and/or at the back of the throat associated with difficulty in breathing,” she said.
She said complications from diphtheria included airway blockage, damage to the heart muscle, nerve damage, and kidney failure. However, for some people, respiratory diphtheria can lead to death.