Four hundred and fifty-three persons are reported to have died from 11,587 Diphtheria cases reported in 18 States of the Federation.
This was announced in an update provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on its website.
According to the update: “The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is aware of the mounting concern regarding the recent Diphtheria outbreak across several states in Nigeria.
“Since the confirmation of the re-emergence of diphtheria in Nigeria in December 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and National Primary Health Care Development Agency have continued to respond to diphtheria outbreaks across different states in the country.
“As of September 24th, 2023, there have been 11,587 reported suspected cases out of which 7,202 were confirmed cases from 105 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in (18) States including the FCT.
“Most (6,185) of the confirmed cases were recorded in Kano. Other States with cases are Yobe (640), Katsina (213), Borno (95), Kaduna (16), Jigawa (14), Bauchi (8), Lagos (8), FCT (5), Gombe (5), Osun (3), Sokoto (3), Niger (2), Cross River (1), Enugu (1), Imo (1), Nasarawa (1) and Zamfara (1).
“The majority (5,299 [73.6%]) of the confirmed cases occurred among children aged 1 – 14 years with those aged 5-14 years bearing most of the brunt of the disease.
“So far, a total of 453 deaths have occurred in confirmed cases giving a case fatality rate (CFR) of 6.3%.
“Given the escalation of the outbreak and findings that 80% of confirmed cases in the ongoing outbreak are unvaccinated, the Honourable Coordinating Minister of the FMOH&SW, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, set up a national emergency task team co-chaired by the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) for higher level coordination of outbreak response efforts.
“This includes ensuring optimal collaboration of all relevant health stakeholders in this fight.
“Other prominent members of the task force include: Director of Public Health-FMOH, representatives from the Federal Ministry of Information, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), USCDC, USAID, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, other non-governmental organisations and development partners.
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“Diphtheria, caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae, is a vaccine-preventable disease covered by one of the vaccines provided routinely through Nigeria’s childhood immunisation schedule.
“A historical gap in vaccination coverage is a driver of the outbreak given the most affected age group (5–14year-olds) and results of the nationwide diphtheria immunity survey that shows only 42% of children under 15 years old are fully protected from diphtheria.”