Diphtheria outbreak: 171 LGAs across 14 states at high risk – FG
In response to the ongoing diphtheria outbreak, the Federal Ministry of Health has identified 171 local government areas (LGAs) in 14 states as high-risk areas for further spread.
The affected states include Kano, Katsina, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Yobe, Kaduna, and Bauchi, where all 144 LGAs are at risk.
Additionally, 20 contiguous LGAs in Gombe, Jigawa, Borno, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Zamfara are also affected, along with seven LGAs in Lagos and Osun states.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Olufunsho Adebiyi, emphasized the urgency of the situation, revealing that real-time surveillance data indicates active diphtheria outbreaks in 25 LGAs across Bauchi, Katsina, Yobe, and Kaduna states.
In a collaborative effort, the Federal Ministry of Health is joining forces with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), state authorities, and partners to mobilize all necessary resources and respond effectively to the outbreak.
An extensive response plan has been activated to ensure early detection, containment of cases, and prevention of further transmission through a multi-phased response strategy, the permanent secretary said.
“A major aspect of the partnership’s efforts is the intensified mass vaccination of the populations at risk, particularly children who are unvaccinated against diphtheria,” she noted.
“This infectious disease primarily targets the respiratory system and presents symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, neck swelling, and breathing difficulties. If left untreated, these signs and symptoms can lead to death, and the risk of fatality is even higher in partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children.
“The Federal Ministry of Health urges residents in the affected LGAs to be vigilant and cooperate with healthcare authorities in getting vaccinated. The timely administration of vaccines is crucial to preventing the further spread of the outbreak and protecting vulnerable communities.
“By working together and taking proactive measures, it is possible to contain the diphtheria outbreak and mitigate its impact on public health.
“The concerted efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health, NPHCDA, NCDC, state governments, and partners are aimed at safeguarding the well-being of all citizens and curbing the spread of this highly contagious disease.
“If you reside in any of the identified high-risk LGAs, reach out to your local health facility or community health workers to receive the necessary vaccination and help protect yourself and your loved ones from diphtheria. Together, we can combat this outbreak and ensure a healthier and safer future for everyone. Stay informed, stay protected,” a health expert, Dr. Tijjani Faisal said.
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