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Death Toll From Diphtheria Outbreak Rises To 38 As Meningitis Hits Jigawa

January 24, 2023

The total confirmed cases across the four states had also risen to 123.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) on Monday stated that the death toll from the current diphtheria outbreak across four states of the country has risen to 38.

The total confirmed cases across the four states had also risen to 123.

This was made known by the Director General of the NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, 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.

Aditifa explained 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.

He said, "As of yesterday Kano had so far recorded 100 confirmed cases and 32 deaths, Lagos recorded five confirmed cases and three deaths, Yobe recorded 17 confirmed cases and three deaths while Osun recorded one confirmed case and no death.

“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.

"The agency had also been notified of rising cases of suspected Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) cases in Jigawa State," he added.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, also at the event, said that as of 20th January, Nigeria had fully vaccinated 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.

He said; "A total of 10,390,911 persons had received the booster dose, adding that Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Osun, and Kano still topped states with eligible populations fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines.”

Shuaib who was represented by the Director of Planning Research and Statistics, Dr Abdullahi Bulama Garba, gave the five least performing states for COVID-19 vaccination as Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo, Kogi and Ebonyi.

However, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, enjoined Nigerians to disregard a letter trending on social media suggesting that an unknown deadly flu was detected in some Nigerians in China.

"Relevant health organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centres for Disease Control which usually spot such outbreaks were yet to say anything about it or issue an advisory on it," he said.