Diphtheria death toll increases to 34

The death toll recorded from outbreak of diphtheria across states in the country, has increased to 34.


According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the deaths were recorded between December 2022 and early January 2023 from Lagos, Kano, Yobe, and Osun. Kano had the most deaths as 25 patients have already passed on.


The NCDC blamed the rising cases of the vaccine-preventable disease on low vaccination coverage across the country.


The agency said; 


“The fact that we are having a resurgence of diphtheria now suggests that there have been critical reductions in vaccination coverage among pockets of our population.

“This reduced level of population immunity has given rise to the cases that we are seeing.

“It is not a matter of diphtheria spreading from state to state, the bacteria that causes the disease is present everywhere in our environment.

“Any state where you find diphtheria now, you are likely to find that it will be associated with suboptimal vaccination coverage, either in general or in pockets of the population.” 


Suspected cases of diphtheria in Kano have also risen from 25 to 100 in less than two weeks.


The disease is prevalent in Ungogo, Nassarawa, Bichi, Dala, Dawakin Kudu, Fagge, Gwale, Kano Municipal, Kumbotso, Rano, Dawakin Tofa and Gwarzo local government areas.