The Federal Government has recorded 11,587 suspected cases of diphtheria in the country with 7,202 confirmed cases from 105 local government areas (LGAs) in 18 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This was disclosed on Monday in an update on the diphtheria outbreak published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).
Diphtheria is a dangerous infection caused by a toxin-producing bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It is a vaccine-preventable disease that is protected by one of the vaccines frequently offered as part of Nigeria’s pediatric immunisation programme.
“Most (6,185) of the confirmed cases were recorded in Kano. Other States with cases are Yobe (640), Katsina (213), Borno (95), Kaduna (16), Jigawa (14), Bauchi (8), Lagos (8), FCT (5), Gombe (5), Osun (3), Sokoto (3), Niger (2), Cross River (1), Enugu (1), Imo (1), Nasarawa (1) and Zamfara (1),” the statement said.
The majority of confirmed cases – 5,299 (73.6 percent) – occurred among children aged one to 14 years, with those aged five to 14 suffering the brunt of the disease.
The statement said, “So far, 453 people have died in confirmed cases, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 6.3%”.
It also stated in response to an escalating outbreak involving 80 percent unvaccinated cases, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, established a national emergency task team.
The team is said to be co-chaired by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Director General of NCDC for higher level coordination of outbreak response.
In the National Response to the Country’s Diphtheria Outbreak, the NCDC said since the epidemic was confirmed, the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (FMOH&SW) has been coordinating surveillance and response actions around the country through its various agencies.
It further stated that the group would be “ensuring optimal collaboration of all relevant health stakeholders in this fight.”