Nigeria records 216 confirmed diphtheria cases – NCDC

By Chioma Obinna

Nigeria has recorded 216 diphtheria cases and 40 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC.

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nose, throat and sometimes, the skin of an individual.

It is caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium species, mainly by toxin-producing Corynebacterium diphtheriae and rarely by toxin-producing strains of C. ulcerans and C. pseudotuberculosis.

Confirming the figures during a webinar entitled ‘Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria: A Case of Re-Emergence or Improved Surveillance”, the Lead of the Diphtheria/Pertussis Technical Working Group in the NCDC, Dr Bola Lawal said suspected cases in the country are now 523 from five states.

Some of the states affected include; Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Lagos, and Osun states.

According to Lawal, NCDC is currently supporting the response activities in Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Osun, and Yobe, among other states.

Giving the breakdown of cases per state, Lawal started: “Kano state recorded 396 suspected cases with 211 confirmed cases, Yobe state 78 suspected cases with two confirmed cases; Katsina has 34 suspected cases but no confirmed case yet; while Lagos has recorded 14 suspected cases and two confirmed cases; and Osun state one confirmed case.

Noting that the country has a case fatality rate of 18.5 per cent, he said: “Of the 216 confirmed cases, 184 (85.2 per cent) were aged two to 14 years from both sexes.  Out of the 216 confirmed cases, 27 were fully vaccinated, 84 were unvaccinated and 20 were partly vaccinated.

According to the NCDC, Diphtheria manifests as laryngitis, pharyngitis or tonsillitis and is associated with the presence of an adherent membrane covering the tonsils, pharynx and/or nose. Beyond the respiratory symptoms, approximately a quarter of cases may develop heart problems.


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