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NCDC Reacts As Diphtheria Spreads To Lagos And Other States

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Friday, issued a public health advisory as cases of diphtheria spreads in some States in the country.

Lifestyle Nigeria earlier reported that diphtheria disease has killed no fewer than 25 persons, mostly children, in Kano State.

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species that affects 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 breathing.

Diphtheria spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing and objects.

NCDC, in a public health advisory, said it has responded to reports of diphtheria cases in Lagos and Kano States.

The centre said it was also “monitoring the situation” in Osun and Yobe states where cases are now being picked up.

“In addition to clinically suspected cases, there have been laboratory-confirmed cases and the NCDC is working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak,” the advisory reads.

“This includes keeping the public informed on staying safe at home and in their communities.”

The NCDC said as a preventive measure, parents should ensure children receive three doses of pentavalent vaccine (diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine) in their 6th, 10th, and 14th week of life.

“Healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for diphtheria i.e., be vigilant and look out for symptoms of diphtheria,” the advisory adds.

“Individuals with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria should isolate themselves and notify the local government area (LGA), state disease surveillance officer (DSNO), or the NCDC through our toll-free line (6232).

“Close contacts with a confirmed case of diphtheria should be closely monitored, given antibiotics prophylaxis, and start on diphtheria antitoxin treatment when indicated.

“All healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, support staff, etc.) with higher exposure to cases of diphtheria should be vaccinated against diphtheria.”

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