The Nigeria Centre of Disease Control and Prevention says lack of childhood immunisation should is responsible for the outbreak of the deadly throat disease, diphtheria, in certain parts of the country.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said although the ailment is a vaccine preventable disease and is also treatable, it is still very deadly and should not be taken lightly.
Adetifa, who spoke in a television programme on Monday, added that the resurgence of the disease in some states in Nigeria was proof that there had been significant reduction in childhood immunisation and vaccination among pockets of the population.
In his words, ”Diphtheria, a vaccine preventable disease that used to be common decades ago is on the increase in some states in Nigeria. The fact that there is a resurgence suggests that there is significant reduction in vaccination coverage among pockets of the population and this reduced pockets of immunity has given rise to the cases we have seen.
“It is not a matter of diphtheria spreading from state to state, the bacteria that causes the disease is present everywhere and it spreads, and any state in which you find the disease now is likely to be associated with suboptimal vaccination rates, either in general or in particular in pockets of population. Failure of childhood vaccination in the failed states is causing the diphtheria outbreaks.
“Kano has highest number of cases followed by Yobe, by weekend, there were 34 deaths in total. We are in a good place to help but is important that patients are recognised early, and diagnosis made quickly out so that treatment can commence immediately.”
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species that affects the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.