By Princess-Ekwi Ajide Abuja
The Nigeria Centre for Desease Control, NCDC, has placed health workers on alert following outbreak of diphtheria in Lagos and Kano states.
The NCDC directed healthcare workers in the country to maintain a high index of suspicion for diphtheria following the outbreak of the disease in the two states.
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species that affects the nose, throat and sometimes, skin of an individual.
Symptoms of diphteria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and neck swelling while in severe cases, a thick grey or white patch appears on the tonsils and/or at the back of the throat associated with difficulty breathing.
A statement signed by the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said they have responded to reports of diphtheria cases in Lagos and Kano states and are monitoring the situation in Osun and Yobe states where cases are now being picked up.
According to NCDC, diphtheria spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing or objects.
IT LISTED PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK OF CONTRACTING DIPHTHERIA TO INCLUDE CHILDREN AND ADULTS WHO HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY OR A SINGLE DOSE OF THE PENTAVALENT VACCINE (A DIPHTHERIA TOXOID-CONTAINING VACCINE), PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN A CROWDED ENVIRONMENT, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN AREAS WITH POOR SANITATION, HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND OTHERS WHO ARE EXPOSED TO SUSPECTED CONFIRMED CASES OF DIPHTHERIA.
The statement, therefore, asked parents to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria with three doses of the pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the childhood immunisation schedule.
Meanwhile, Kano State Ministry of Health has already revealed that the diphtheria outbreak has so far killed 25 people with 58 suspected cases and six persons on admission.