•The lab created to carry out confirmatory tests of the epidemic on citi
The Federal Government of Nigeria is in the final stages of establishing the National Diphtheria Laboratory to conduct essential preliminary and confirmatory tests for the disease within the country.
This development comes amid alarming statistics, with a reported 13,204 suspected cases and a confirmation of 8,406 diphtheria cases across 114 Local Government Areas in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), made this announcement during a press briefing in Abuja, providing an update on the diphtheria situation in Nigeria.
Kano bears the heaviest burden, accounting for 86 percent of the cases with 7,188, followed by Yobe with 775 cases, Katsina with 232, and Borno with 118, among others.
Of the 8,406 confirmed cases, a significant 73.7 percent were among individuals aged 1-14 years. Worryingly, most of these cases occurred among individuals who were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against diphtheria. Specifically, 64 percent of confirmed cases fell into this category, while 11 percent had an unknown vaccination status. Only 25 percent were fully vaccinated against the disease.
Diphtheria, caused by the toxin-producing bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, is a vaccine-preventable disease that forms part of Nigeria's routine childhood immunization schedule.
In response to these outbreaks, the Federal Ministry of Health, working through the NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and partners, has been actively collaborating with affected states' health ministries.
National Rapid Response Teams have been deployed to affected states, including Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Jigawa, and Zamfara, to bolster outbreak response efforts.
Dr. Adetifa extended gratitude to various partners, including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, GAVI, and Breakthrough Action Nigeria, for their steadfast support of the national response to combat diphtheria.