As of March 2, 2023, 61 people had died in Kano state, Nigeria as a result of a diphtheria infection outbreak.
At a webinar with the title “Diptheria epidemic in Nigeria: Vaccination Response,” hosted by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, the case manager for Kano State, Dr. Salma Suwaid, made this announcement.
A total of 783 patients have been admitted thus far, according to Dr. Suwaid. 360 of these individuals were female, while 423 were male.
Diphtheria is a severe bacterial infection that affects a person’s nose, throat, and occasionally the skin. It is brought on by the bacterium Corynebacterium species.
Direct contact with infected person droplets from coughing or sneezing, as well as contact with contaminated objects and clothing, are the main ways that diphtheria spreads between individuals.
Low vaccination rates and a lack of diphtheria antitoxin during the early stages of the outbreak were both contributing factors to the ongoing diphtheria outbreak and its high case fatality rate.
The infection has been identified so far in the states of Kano, Yobe, Lagos, Osun, and Katsina of Nigeria.
The average length of stay in the hospital for patients, according to Suwaid, a pediatric consultant, is four days.
“In patients who had been hospitalised for an average of 15 days after the onset of their symptoms, 83% of deaths occurred.
“68% of patients have been discharged, 1.66% have fled, and 12.2% have passed away.”
Regarding the initial evaluation of patients, she stated that the area designated for triaging is appropriately manned and furnished with the resuscitation tools required.
All healthcare staff follows safety procedures, suspicious cases are recognised, cases are categorised based on severity, swabs are taken, and crowd control personnel are stationed.
She mentioned that the DAT is only administered once, as soon as possible.
“Because DAT is derived from equines, there is a possibility of often occurring moderate reactions and a rare yet serious anaphylactic reaction. As a result, many steps are taken to reduce the dangers. The first is that DAT has to be administered in a medical facility.
A stronger monitoring system is required, according to the pediatrician, to enable the early discovery of diseases important to public health and to stop their spread at the earliest possible stage.
Dr. Adejoke Oladele of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency also spoke, noting that children between the ages of two and 14 made up the majority of the verified cases of diphtheria in the nation.
She continued by saying that in the states in danger, the CDC is acting with vaccination and routine immunisation.
The majority of confirmed cases of the virus, according to Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the NCDC, are either unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.
But it’s crucial to record unusual diphtheria cases, he added, so that we may exchange them and use them as a continuing source of information.