11,587 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported by the federal government, with 7,202 confirmed cases coming from 105 local government units (LGAs) in 18 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) provided an update on the diphtheria outbreak on Monday, which made this information public.
The toxin-producing bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the source of the potentially fatal infection known as diphtheria. It is a disease that can be safeguarded against by vaccination; and one of the vaccines routinely provided as part of Nigeria’s pediatric immunization program does just that.
“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, Prof. Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, 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”.