The Ministry of Health says 171 local government areas in 14 states in the country are at high risk of further spread of the diphtheria outbreak.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Olufunsho Adebiyi, explained that the 171 LGAs included all the 144 local government areas in Kano, Katsina, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Yobe, Kaduna and Bauchi states.
Others states are Gombe, Jigawa, Borno, Nasarawa, Plateau and Zamfara, which have 20 contagious local government areas, as well as seven local government areas in Lagos and Osun states.
According to him, “Available real-time surveillance data showed active diphtheria outbreaks in 25 LGAs in Bauchi, Katsina, Yobe and Kaduna states.”
He explained that the ministry, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), states and partners, was mobilizing all the necessary resources to respond effectively to the outbreak.
He said that a comprehensive response plan has been activated to ensure early detection and containment of cases, as well as prevent further transmission through a multi-phased response strategy.
According to him, the partnership aimed at intensified mass vaccination of the identified populations at risk to curb the ongoing diphtheria outbreak in two phases, saying that diphtheria affects people of all ages, especially children who are unvaccinated against the disease.
This disease is characterized by signs and symptoms, which include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, neck swelling and difficulty breathing.
If left untreated, he explained that the signs and symptoms could eventually lead to death; and the risk of death is higher in partially vaccinated/unvaccinated children.