Respiratory Disease, Diphtheria Kills 3 Children in Kaduna, Cases Surge in Yobe

Diphtheria, a contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the respiratory system, has killed at least three children in Kaduna State as it spreads widely in northeastern Yobe State where over 200 cases have been recorded.

The disease, WikkiTimes gathered, forms a thick, greyish membrane in the throat, obstructing airways and leading to potentially fatal complications if left untreated. The disease can also affect the heart and nervous system.

The Kaduna State Ministry of Health said the disease has killed three as seven other children from Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area were hospitalized.

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“The Kaduna State Ministry of Health on Thursday 20th July 2023 confirmed cases of the diphtheria disease in some communities in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area,” a statement by Muhammad Lawal Shehu, Chief Press Secretary to governor read. “This confirmation comes after several reports were made about residents in Takau Ward, Kafanchan A, and Kafanchan B wards, exhibiting symptoms listed as difficulty in breathing, high fever, cough, general body weakness, sore throat, and neck swelling.”

“Upon learning about the unfortunate loss of lives in the affected communities, His Excellency, Senator Uba Sani, Governor of Kaduna State, immediately directed the Kaduna State Ministry of Health to send an emergency team to investigate these cases. A preliminary report from the Ministry revealed that the outbreak of diphtheria in Kafanchan had its first recorded case in the beginning of July, 2023,” he added.

In Yobe, there are 289 active cases of the disease, according to a statement by the state’s director of information, Husaini Ibrahim.

According to the statement, the senior special assistant to the governor on Health, Muhammad Gana said: “Diphtheria which is currently ravaging the country is now recorded in the state with the highest case records in Nguru.

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“Other LGAS affected are Gulani, Bursari, Potiskum, Tarmuwa, Damaturu and Nangere.

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“The active cases are currently in the isolation centres of Specialist Hospitals Potiskum and Damaturu. 289 cases have been treated and discharged. Yobe state government and partners have been making various interventions in fighting the outbreak, while the sector is strategising a more coordinated result-oriented means of preventing, managing, and ending the cases in the state.”

Although the reasons for the sudden outbreak are being investigated, experts believe low vaccination rates, limited access to healthcare facilities, and poor sanitation may be contributing to the disease’s rapid spread.

In response to this, the Yobe State government and the Nigerian health authorities have begun mass vaccination campaigns, surveillance and contact tracing and awareness and education among others.

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