By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said the outbreak of diphtheria in four states of Nigeria has led to the death of 38.
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director General of the NCDC, made the disclosure in Abuja during the update on the COVID-19 pandemic response and development in the health sector organised by the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners.
According to him, about 123 cases of diphtheria have been confirmed in the four states.
He explained that Kano State has the highest number of 100 cases and 32 deaths, followed by Lagos state with five recorded confirmed cases and three deaths, Yobe has 17 confirmed cases and three deaths and Osun state has one confirmed case with no death recorded.
According to him, “Given the sub-optimal coverage for the third dose of diphtheria containing pentavalent vaccine (54% – 2021 Nigeria Immunization Coverage Survey) in the country, we expect more cases from more states.”
He added that the rising cases of suspected Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) cases in Jigawa State had been notified, assuring that there were preliminary reports of 117 suspected and 12 confirmed cases of the disease in epidemiological week 49 of 2022 and week two of 2023.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), also revealed that 65,176,784 (56.2%) eligible persons with COVID-19 vaccine while 77,070,988 (66.4%) eligible persons had taken at least one dose of the vaccine as of 20th January, 2023.
According to him, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Osun, and Kano still topped states with eligible populations fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines, saying that a total of 10,390,911 persons had received the booster dose.
Represented by the Director of Planning Research and Statistics, Dr Abdullahi Bulama Garba, Shuaib said that the five least performing states for COVID-19 vaccination as Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo, Kogi and Ebonyi.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of health, urged Nigerians to disregard a letter trending on social media suggesting that an unknown deadly flu was detected in some Nigerians in China.
He explained that World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centres for Disease Control were yet to say anything about it or issue an advisory on it who usually spot such outbreaks.