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NCDC Battles New Disease Outbreak (Diphtheria) That Has Killed 25-Children Mainly In Kano, Lagos, Osun, Yobe

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said it has responded to reports of diphtheria cases in Lagos and Kano States while monitoring the situation in Osun and Yobe States where cases are now being picked up.
At least 25 persons — mostly children — have died as a result of the diphtheria disease outbreak in Kano state.

Aminu Tsanyawa, the commissioner for health, confirmed the outbreak on Thursday.

Diphtheria is an infection that is caused by strains of bacteria known as Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxins.

The disease is capable of causing difficulty in breathing and heart rhythm issues, and can lead to death.

Symptoms include sore throat, coughing, drooling, neck swelling, abnormal breathing, fever and mouth odor.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said vaccines should be recommended for children, infants, teenagers, and adults infected with diphtheria.

Tsanyawa said the state health ministry has set up an emergency preparedness committee (EPC) which is currently holding meetings, “with a view to evaluating the casualty figures, reviewing the data and measures to address the situation”.

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“Presently, the Kano state rapid response team has been reactivated and indexed an action plan to check the spread of the deadly disease in the state,” the commissioner said.

“Right now, we have presented a budget for this to the government and it has been approved.

“The low routine immunization attributed to the spread of the disease is due to the hard-to-be-reached areas in the state. However, the state is strengthening its routine immunization.”

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The Kano state government has set up a diphtheria treatment center with support from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) at Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital where the active cases are receiving treatment.

Tsanyawa added that the state has embarked on a sensitization programme to educate the public on the diphtheria disease.

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