By SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri –
Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BSPHCDA) on Wednesday said it has recorded no fewer than 653 cases of diphtheria outbreak in the state.
The State Immunisation Officer of BSPHCDA, Alhaji Maina Modu, who disclosed this on Wednesday during a one day media dialogue at the NUJ Press Center, Maidugiri, said the state also recorded one death from diphtheria outbreak.
Alhaji Modu said Borno State Epidemiological Summary as at 30th October, 2023 had a cumulative number of 653 suspected Diphtheria cases in 4 LGAs of the state.
The breakdown of the cases according to him include: MMC-294, Jere-191 Biu-80, Mobbar-28,, Mafa-27, Konduga-8, Kwaya-Kusar-6, while 5 cases each from Bayo, and Gubio, 2 cases from Mágumeri, Shani, and Nganzaí, 1 case each from Bama, Dikwa, and Kaga.
He added that a total of 407 samples were collected and transported to the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), where out of the 407, a total 274 samples were analyzed, 41 were positive and 233 were negative, while the remaining sample results are pending and 1 death was recorded among the confirmed cases so far which informed Implementation process in 4 high risk LGAs out of the 27 LGAs in Borno state of Diphtheria OBR Campaign in October, November and December 2023.
Alhaji Modu, further, disclosed that human beings are the only natural host for diphtheria with carriers as reservoir and transmitted directly: person-to-person through respiratory droplets and Indirectly through contact with skin or contaminated clothing and objects while transmission can occur as long as the toxigenic bacteria are present in discharge and lesions, which is normally 2 weeks or less, and seldom longer than 4 weeks.
“Antibiotic therapy promptly terminates shedding of the bacteria with signs and symptoms Incubation period is 2-5 days (as high as 10 days). Symptoms ranges from mild to severe fever, sore throat, pseudo-membrane, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, swollen neck with Complications such as inflammation and damage to the heart muscles, nerves and kidney
“Death of up to 10% have been reported in diphtheria outbreaks, and are higher in settings where diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) is unavailable.
According to him, the treatment of cases & management of contacts involves administration of diphtheria antitoxin (DAT)-given IV or Antibiotics therapy (after sample collection) with penicillin or erythromycin Isolation of case & initiation or completion of immunization against diphtheria.
“While the management of contacts requires vaccination to complete the primary series or use of an age-appropriate booster Prophylactic antibiotic treatment with penicillin or erythromycin as well as close monitoring and follow-up for seven days”, he said.
On her parts, the UNICEF SBC Specialist, Mrs. Elizabeth O. Tolo, said findings from a research survey conducted on the Knowledges, attitudes, perception, rumours and Practices on diphtheria by the people in Borno and Yobe among other state, revealed that people are aware of the disease and wants or accepts the treatment through vaccination and going to health centers while others attached the disease to cultural and religious norms and traditions.
Mrs. Tolo, however, called on the media expand their scope and carry out advocacy, mobilizations and awareness campaigns on their platforms to enlighten, educate and inform the general public about the diseases.
“Stakeholders should prioritise training and engagement in the response of Information from the population, establishment of operational partnerships/exchanges with Radio across the state and Community Workers should explore private sector to through quality tool regarding communities think about this outbreaks, and other diseases along with respective simultaneous campaign made in a regular system to collect data and feedback from communities”, she said.