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Monday, January 30, 2023

Diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria- NCDC –

Based on reports of diphtheria cases in Lagos and Kano states, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention has initiated surveillance in Osun and Yobe states and is currently collecting cases.

NCDC Director General Dr Ifedayo Adetifa disclosed this during a public health advisory on the outbreak in the country on Friday.

There have been laboratory-confirmed and clinically suspected cases, the agency said, and it is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to increase surveillance and response to the outbreak.

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the rod-shaped bacteria that affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the skin.

Children and adults who have not received a single dose of the pentavalent vaccine are said to be at high risk.

People who live in crowded environments and are not in well-sterilized areas and who are at higher risk are healthcare workers who have been exposed to suspected/confirmed cases of the disease.

Diphtheria spreads rapidly through direct contact with an infected person, coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing and objects.

Signs and symptoms begin 2 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis), runny nose, and neck swelling.

“In severe cases, thick gray or white patches can develop on the tonsils and back of the throat, with difficulty breathing.”

The Nigerian Childhood Immunization Program recommends three doses of the pentavalent vaccine for children at the 6th, 10th and 14th week of life, it said.

NCDC also advises healthcare professionals to watch for signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria to self-isolate and notify their local government area, state disease surveillance officer, or NCDC toll-free (6232).

Close contacts of confirmed cases of diphtheria should be given antibiotic prophylaxis and started diphtheria antitoxin treatment when detected.

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