The number of confirmed cases of diphtheria disease has risen to 123 in the country, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Director General of the NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed this on Monday while responding to an inquiry made by The PUNCH.

This is just as the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, urged parents to ensure that their children get vaccinated against the infection as the country is still battling Lassa fever, measles, meningitis, and yellow fever.

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

It spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing and objects.

Adetifa said the cases were recorded in Kano, Lagos, Yobe, and Osun States.

According to the DG, the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths were recorded in Kano State.

He said, “Based on the latest reports from states shared with the NCDC as of January 22, 123 confirmed cases and 38 deaths have been recorded.”

A breakdown of the cases showed that Kano State recorded 100 confirmed cases with 32 deaths, followed by Yobe State with 17 confirmed cases and three deaths; Lagos State recorded five confirmed cases and three deaths, while Osun State recorded one case.

Speaking at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja on Monday, Ehanire said “Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease and we are urging that people should get vaccinated. The vaccines are there and we need cooperation and uptake.”

Also speaking, the Director of Special Duties and Partnership of the NCDC, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, said the agency is working with state Ministries of Health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.

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Ibekwe, who represented the DG at the briefing, said there may be more cases from more states.

She said “Given the sub-optimal coverage for the third dose of diphtheria containing pentavalent vaccine (54 per cent – 2021 MICS and NICS) in the country, we expect more cases from more states.

“In view of this, we have deployed the Rapid Response Team members to support state response and media engagements with the DG.”

She added that there are rising cases of suspected meningitis

Meningitis cases

She added that there are rising cases of suspected meningitis

“Preliminary reports are of 117 suspected and 12 confirmed cases, with a case fatality rate of 27 per cent from week 49, 2022, and week two of 2023,” he said.

She said due to the proximity of Jigawa to Yobe and Katsina states, the NCDC has deployed RRT members to the state to assess, improve on the level of preparedness, and to conduct active Cerebrospinal Meningitis case finding for early detection.

COVID-19 kills 3,155

Ibekwe added that the country has tested 5,831,134 COVID-19 samples and has confirmed 266,463 cases, with 259,850 discharged cases and 3,155 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.


By Vision

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