Diphtheria outbreak: Kano leads as NCDC records 123 cases, 38 deaths


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has recorded 128 cases of diphtheria and 38 deaths in the country.


Ifedayo Adetifa, NCDC director-general, said this on Monday during a media briefing at the ministry of health in Abuja.


Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by the corynebacterium species that affect the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.


Some symptoms of diphtheria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty in breathing.


The NCDC said it has recorded cases in Lagos, Kano, Yobe, and Osun states.


Adetifa, who was represented by Priscilla Ibekwe, NCDC director, special duties and partnership, said the agency began getting reports of diphtheria from late 2022 and had gotten laboratory-confirmed cases.


“As of January 22, we have 123 confirmed cases and 38 deaths; 100 cases are from Kano, with 32 deaths,” she said.


 “In Lagos, there are five cases with three deaths. In Yobe, there are 17 confirmed cases and three deaths. Osun has recorded one case with no death.”


She added that the NCDC is working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.


The agency also said given the sub-optimal coverage for the third dose of the diphtheria vaccine in the country, “we expect more cases from more states”.


“In view of this, we have deployed rapid response team members to support state response, collaborated with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to organise a five-day workshop on enhancing laboratory diagnosis of diphtheria in Nigeria for laboratory scientists working in NCDC’s national reference laboratories and its lab network,” she said.


 “We have also written to all state commissioners of health to institute immediate and necessary public health measures for timely detection and response to diphtheria at state level.


“Individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria should isolate themselves and notify the LGA, or the NCDC through our toll-free line (6232).”

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