The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) released the following today concerning diphtheria in Abuja and nationally:
NCDC is aware of the death in June 2023 of a four-year-old with diphtheria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The NCDC, since December 2022, has reported multiple diphtheria outbreaks in different states across the country. 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 i.e., 654 (82%) of 798 confirmed diphtheria cases in this ongoing outbreak were unvaccinated. Unfortunately, this also includes this recently announced FCT case. Historical sub-optimal vaccination coverage is the main driver of the outbreak given the most affected age group (2-14-year-olds) observed, and a national survey of diphtheria immunity that found less than half (41.7%) of children under 15 years old are fully protected from diphtheria.