NIGERIA – The Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Tsanyawa, has confirmed the outbreak of the deadly diphtheria disease which is reported to have killed 18 persons so far.

The State Epidemiologist, Dr Abdullahi Kauranmata said the 3 persons died after testing positive while 15 others died from a suspected case of the outbreak.

Dr Kauranmata said more than 10 local government areas were so far affected as they have reported suspected cases of the outbreak.

“Our main concern now is that we are tracing and going after the contacts of those people who have been tested positive since they (the victims) have been diagnosed. We make sure we line list all contacts and follow them up. Any among who already develop the symptoms, we will pick them up to the treatment centre,” he said.

“We have reported suspected cases from more than 10 local government areas such as Ungogo, Dala, Nassarawa, Dawakin-Kudu among others.

“We started having the cases since last week of December. But we are doing well and stabilizing so far.”

Symptoms of the killer disease include sore throat, cough, drooling of saliva, change of voice, neck swelling, abnormal breathing, fever or mouth odour, among others.

The commissioner, who confirmed the outbreak, said the state emergency preparedness committee is currently in a meeting with a view to evaluating the casualty figures, reviewing the data and measures to address the situation.

Tsanyawa said presently, the state rapid response team has been reactivated and indexed an action plan to check the spread of the deadly disease in the state.

He said the low routine immunisation attributed to the spread of the disease is due to the hard-to-be-reached areas in the state.

He noted that, however, the state is strengthening its routine immunization adding that apart from the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital designated as an isolation centre, other isolation centres would be created to check the spread of disease.

“Although we used Yargaya for COVID-19 isolation, we have set the place aside for the isolation of diphtheria infection also. We also have three cases of LASSA Fever in the state now with the index case from Taraba,” he said.

“The people should not panic but if they notice any unusual fever, should immediately visit the hospital. We are already embarking on sensitisation to educate the populace on the disease.”

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