Face masks may be reintroduced as diphtheria spreads to 18 states including Lagos, FCT
The Nigerian Federal Government has called on governors of affected states to reintroduce the use of face masks to curtail the spread of the disease.
Confirmed cases of diphtheria have risen to over 8,000 with Kano State being the epicentre of the contagious disease with 7,188 cases.
Cases have been recorded in Yobe ( 775), Katsina (232), Borno (118), Jigawa (23), Bauchi (20), Lagos (8), Kaduna (17), FCT (6), Gombe (5), Osun (3), Sokoto (3), Niger (2).
Cross River, Enugu, Imo, Nasarawa, Kebbi and Zamfara states have recorded one case each.
In a bid to curtail the spread, the Federal government on Tuesday, October 4, 2023, called on the governors of the affected states to reintroduce the use of face masks.
Speaking on the rising cases of the disease at a press conference on Monday, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said that out of the 8,406 cases in Nigeria, 73.7 % of the victims were between one year and 14 years.
Adetifa said, “As of today (yesterday), there have been 13,204 reported suspected cases out of which 8,406 were confirmed cases from 114 local government areas in 19 states and the FCT.
“Of the 8,406 confirmed cases, 6,202 (73.7 %) were aged one to 14 years. Infants: less than 1%; one to four years: 14.40%; five to nine years: 32.2%; 10 to 14 years: 27.1%; adults above 20 years: 15%
“Our records have shown that most of the confirmed cases of diphtheria in the country were unvaccinated against diphtheria.
According to him, the NCDC has activated diphtheria surveillance and public health measures in the affected states and FCT.
He explained further that the agency, through laboratory networking, continued to conduct preliminary and confirmatory testing at sub-national and national levels.
“Currently, NCDC has 14 laboratories in the Diphtheria Laboratory Network with capacity to support diphtheria testing.
“Optimisation of five additional laboratories at the subnational level is currently ongoing,” he said.
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