Diphtheria: 8 deaths recorded in Kaduna

EIGHT deaths linked to diphetria disease has been recorded in Kaduna State.

The Director of Public Health, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Hamza Ibrahim-Ikara, who disclosed this on Tuesday, July 25, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), also revealed that the state had recorded 68 suspected cases of the disease.

Caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria corynebacterium diphtheriae, diphetria is a vaccine-preventable disease covered by one of the vaccines provided routinely through Nigeria’s childhood immunisation schedule. 

The bacterial infection tmusually affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.

Ibrahim-Ikara said the suspected cases were from four local government areas: Makarfi, Kubau, Jema’a (Kafanchan) and Kaduna North.

Five fatalities were from Jema’a and three from Makarfi, according to the director of public health. 

“We still have one suspected case in Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital now.”

Ibrahim-Ikara also disclosed that 28 samples had been taken to the laboratory. The results are being expected.

“For now, they are all suspected cases; there is no confirmation yet until the results are out.”

He said the Rapid Response Team (RRT) set up by the state government is carrying out media and door-to-door sensitisation campaigns in communities, adding that contact tracing and active search are also ongoing to curb transmission.

Ibrahim-Ikara while urging residents to report suspected cases to the nearest health facilities across the state, assured that the state government has prioritised routine immunisation to ensure that all children were fully vaccinated against the disease.

On July 6, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said it has recorded 798 diphtheria cases across eight states between December 2022 and June 30, 2023.

According to the statement released by the Centre’s Director General Ifedayo Adetifa on Thursday, June 6, 782 of the cases were recorded in Kano State. Kaduna, which has now reported 68 suspected cases, was among the states mentioned by the NCDC to have cases of dipheteria.

Other states with cases of diphetria are Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Osun state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Children aged 2-14 were at greater risk of the disease, as 71.7 per cent of the 798 cases recorded in the eight states occurred among them.

According to the NCDC, 80 deaths were recorded from all the confirmed cases.

“As of June 30th, 2023, there have been 798 confirmed diphtheria cases from 33 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in eight (8) States including the FCT. Most of the cases (782) were recorded in Kano. Other States with cases are Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Kaduna, and Osun. The majority (71.7%) of the 798 confirmed cases occurred among children aged 2 – 14 years. So far, a total of 80 deaths have been recorded among all confirmed cases (case fatality rate of 10.0%).”

Despite the availability of a safe and cost-effective vaccine in the country, the majority, 654 (82 per cent) of 798 confirmed diphtheria cases in this ongoing outbreak were unvaccinated.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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