Nigeria recorded 123 confirmed cases of diphtheria disease and 38 deaths in different parts of the country as at January 22, 2023. A breakdown by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that Kano had 100 confirmed cases and 32 deaths, Lagos, five confirmed infections and three deaths, Yobe, 17 confirmed incidents and three fatalities, while Osun recorded one confirmed case and no death so far.
The centre’s Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, who made the disclosure at the ministerial update on COVID-19 yesterday, in Abuja, said his organisation had sent correspondences to states to heighten surveillance for diphtheria and prompt reporting.
Adetifa, who was represented by Director, Special Duties, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, hinted that NCDC was supporting states to respond and control the spread of the outbreak, adding that the country hastrained clinicians to promptly diagnose and contain the epidemic.
He stated that the disease centre was also supporting states by providing antitoxins for treatment of confirmed cases of diphtheria and that with the support of partners, it had organised a workshop for laboratory scientists in states to increase diagnostic capacity for diphtheria.
According to him, participants were trained on how to culture, identify and assess susceptibility of causative agents of diphtheria directly from clinical samples.
Adetifa noted that diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, urging Nigerians to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against the disease with the prescribed three doses of the pentavalent vaccine.
He also disclosed that they are monitoring situation on the purported unknown deadly flu in China and increasing genomic sequence sampling. Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who concentrated on the alleged outbreak of unknown deadly flu in China, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had not made any pronouncement on such outbreak.
The minister explained that the nation’s port health and other agencies were doing carrying out due diligence on arrivals in the country.