NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) reported a total of 1,506 suspected diphtheria cases from 59 LGAs in 11 states across the country in July 23.

Image/Robert Herriman

Kano (1,055), Yobe (232), Kaduna (85), Katsina (58) and Bauchi (47) states and the FCT (18) accounted for 99.3% of all suspected cases.

Of the suspected cases, 579 or 38,5 percent were confirmed. A total of 39 deaths were recorded among all confirmed cases (CFR: 6.7%).

From May 2022 through July 2023, NCDC reported more than 4,000 suspected cases and 1,534 confirmed diphtheria cases.

A total of 137 deaths were recorded among all confirmed cases (CFR: 8.9%) for the above period.

Out of the 1,534 confirmed cases reported, 1,257 (81.9%) were not fully vaccinated against diphtheria.

Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria that make a toxin. The toxin can cause people to get very sick. Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person through respiratory droplets like from coughing or sneezing, People can also get sick from touching open sores or ulcers of people sick with diphtheria.

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When the bacteria get into the respiratory system they can cause sore throat, mild fever, and swollen glands in the neck. The bacteria make a toxin that kills healthy tissues in the respiratory system and can make it difficult to breathe and swallow. The toxin can also cause heart, nerve, and kidney problems if it enters the bloodstream. Skin infections caused by C. diphtheriae typically consist of shallow ulcers (sores) and do not result in severe disease.

For some people, respiratory diphtheria can lead to death. Even with treatment, about 1 in 10 patients with respiratory diphtheria die. Without treatment, up to half of patients can die from the disease.

If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against diphtheria and may have been exposed, it is important to start treatment, with antitoxin and antibiotics, as soon as possible.

CDC recommends that everyone 2 months and older get vaccinated to protect against diphtheria.

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