Diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria killed 25 people in Kano. There are cases in Lagos
Nigerian authorities confirmed, this Friday, the deaths of 25 people due to an outbreak of diphtheria in Kano state, as well as cases in Lagos, and that the situation is being monitored in Osun and Yobe.
Kano health commissioner Aminu Tsanyawa said authorities are assessing the situation to determine the precise number of deaths, adding that Murtala Muhammad Hospital has been designated as an isolation centre, according to Nigerian daily Vanguard.
We also have three cases of lassa fever in the state”, he said, advising that “people should not panic, but go to the hospital immediately if they have an unusual fever”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) issued an alert for the diphtheria outbreak, noting that “in addition to suspected clinical cases, there are laboratory-confirmed cases”.
“NCDC is working with state ministries of health and partners to increase surveillance and response to the outbreak,” he said.
This body issued a series of recommendations in a statement, including an appeal to families to “ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria, with three doses of pentavalent vaccine”, and for health professionals to maintain “a high level of suspicion of diphtheria” and look for “diphtheria symptoms [in potential patients]”.
“Individuals with symptoms compatible with diphtheria should be isolated and cases reported to local authorities, state authorities and the NCDC through a toll-free hotline”, he underlined, advocating that “close contacts of contacted cases should be closely monitored and receive antibiotics”.
Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium ‘corynebacterium diphtheriae’, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) on its website, in which it states that, “sometimes, the toxin passes into the bloodstream and causes complications, such as inflammation and damage to the myocardium, inflammation of the nerves, kidney problems or bleeding disorders due to a drop in the level of platelets”.