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Outbreak Of Diphtheria Confirmed

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja

Touchaheart Nigeria reports according to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), that the infectious disease diphtheria has spread to Abuja and already claimed one life.

In a recent press conference, Dr. Sadiq Abdulraman, the Director of Public Health, made an important announcement urging the residents of FCT (Federal Capital Territory) to promptly receive the Pentavalent vaccine in order to prevent the spread of a disease that affects the nose and throat.

Diphtheria, the mentioned disease, causes a thick, gray substance to form in the throat, resulting in difficulty breathing for patients.

Touchaheart Nigeria reports that this disease spreads through respiratory droplets in the air (such as coughs or sneezes) as well as through saliva (such as kissing or sharing drinks).

Of the eight cases that have been reported thus far, a four-year-old died in the Dei-Dei District, according to Abdulraman.

He said that the outbreak was proven by the results of samples gathered from suspected cases in a community near to Dei-Dei.

He recommended residents to practice good personal cleanliness and to report any unusual symptoms, particularly those that can affect their respiratory health.

He stated: “Two weeks ago, we got information from a community within FCT of about eight suspected cases, which made our team to pick samples to the National Reference Laboratory Gaduwa and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). As at Friday afternoon, the results came out. Out of the eight suspected cases, one came out positive.

A person affected with diphtheria

The illness apparently spread across the nation earlier this year, spreading to around three states.

“Precisely, in January, a national alert was sent out on the outbreak of diphtheria in Lagos, Kano and Ondo states. That triggered a national response. NCDC, which is the flagship of disease outbreak and response in the country, sent a letter to all the states and FCT,” he remarked.

According to Dr. Yahaya Vatsa, Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Health Care, those who are unvaccinated and/or live in congested locations or places with poor sanitation are more at risk.

“Symptoms of the disease include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling and difficulty in breathing. Diphtheria spreads easily through direct contact with infected persons, droplets from coughing or sneezing and contact with contaminated clothing and objects. There is need for hygiene and environmental sanitation.”

“To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, FCT residents are, hereby, advised to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated with three doses of the Pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the national childhood immunisation schedule,” he said.

The ES further recommended that individuals experiencing signs and symptoms that indicate diphtheria should isolate themselves and inform the FCT Disease Surveillance Notification Officer (DSNO) and/or the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) by utilizing the toll-free lines provided by the FCT Call Centre.

“Close contacts with confirmed cases of diphtheria are being closely monitored with prophylactic antibiotics,” he noted.

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