At least six people, mainly children, have died with 12 others hospitalised following the outbreak of diphtheria disease at Kafanchan in Jema’a Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State.
This was disclosed on Thursday in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mohammed Shehu, who said that the diphtheria disease occurred in three wards of the LGA, including Takau, Kafanchan A and Kafanchan B wards.
Shehu explained that the disease broke out two weeks ago after some residents started exhibiting symptoms such as difficulty breathing, high fever, cough, general body weakness, sore throat, and swelling of the neck.
The statement said that the index case was a four-year-old boy whose illness started on July 4, but died after 48 hours while five out of 17 new cases later died within the three wards of Jema’a LGA.
Twelve others are presently on admission to the hospital.
Following the loss of lives in the affected communities, Governor Uba Sani has directed the State Ministry of Health to send an emergency team to investigate the cases and ensure the movement of affected cases to adequately equip hospitals for proper management, active contact tracing and intensive community sensitisation in all affected communities and surrounding areas.
In addition to these efforts, the Kaduna State Ministry of Health has advised residents to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease and protect their communities, by ensuring regular handwashing with soap and water.
Other measures include avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing. Other preventive measures include people staying home from work or school if they are sick, staying active and walking every day to boost their immunity and reporting any suspected cases of diphtheria in their surrounding communities.
The governor commended the health officials for their prompt response to the health emergency, urging them to continue to carry out their tasks diligently to ensure that the disease is contained and subsequently eradicated.