Diphtheria: Kaduna State confirms 20 deaths in 7 months

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Kaduna State said it has recorded 156 cases of diphtheria and 20 concomitant deaths between March and September. The declaration was made known in Kaduna on Wednesday by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shu’aib.

READ ALSO: Diphtheria: FG urges affected states to reintroduce use of face masks

He told newsmen after he led the National Task Team on diphtheria outbreak response to the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna that the state ranked among the seven states with high level of infection.

Shu’aib noted that most of the victims reported late for treatment and stressed the need for patients to be presented for medical attention speedily.

He noted also that about 80 per cent of those afflicted by the diseases did not present themselves for vaccination.

“There is also the need for the media to step up action in creating awareness and providing useful information about diphtheria,’’ he said.

He explained that mild to moderate cases of diphtheria were attended to at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, before being referred to infectious diseases hospitals. He observed that the number of victims was high because of low population immunity created by low vaccination coverage.

“Statistics show that local government areas that had high rates of vaccination in Kaduna State had the least cases of infection,’’ he said.

He stressed that vaccines still remained the most powerful tool to combat vaccine-preventable diseases. Acknowledging efforts made by Kaduna State government in combating diphtheria, Shu’aib also encouraged the people to wear nose masks, especially when visiting health facilities.

In his remarks, Dr Shu’aibu Musa, Consultant, Infectious Diseases at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, said four of the six victims of diphtheria brought to the facility had been treated and discharged. He however urged residents to maintain personal hygiene, get vaccinated and observe coughing and sneezing etiquettes to prevent the spread of diphtheria.



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