The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has officially confirmed the Diphtheria Outbreak in Abuja, the federal territory of Nigeria. The disease has already claimed the life of a four-year-old boy, and eight cases have been reported so far.
Speaking at a press briefing, Sadiq Abdulrahman, the Director of FCT Public Health Department, revealed that the outbreak was traced back to neighboring Niger State. The department received an alert about a potential outbreak in Dei-Dei two weeks ago, with eight suspected cases reported.
In response, the department swiftly activated its emergency response and collected samples for testing at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. The test results, which came in last Friday, confirmed one positive case out of the eight samples.
Abdulrahman emphasized that the department is collaborating with neighboring states to prevent the further spread of the disease through enhanced border surveillance. He also advised residents to prioritize personal hygiene to minimize the risk of infection.
Ishaq Vatsa, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Board, highlighted that diphtheria is caused by bacteria and can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, sneezing, coughing, and contact with infected individuals. He urged residents to visit any of the over 400 vaccine outlets across the territory to get vaccinated against the disease.
Understanding Diphtheria Disease:
Diphtheria is a severe bacterial infection primarily affecting the respiratory system. It leads to the formation of a thick gray coating in the throat, which can cause breathing difficulties and potentially life-threatening complications.
Transmission: Diphtheria spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets or direct contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces. It is highly contagious, making preventive measures crucial.
Common symptoms: Symptoms of diphtheria include a sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, and swollen neck glands. The infection can produce a grayish membrane in the throat, obstructing the airway and requiring immediate medical attention.
Vaccination is essential: Vaccination is the most effective defense against diphtheria. The diphtheria vaccine is typically administered in combination with other vaccines, such as tetanus and pertussis (DTaP or Tdap). It is crucial to ensure that you and your loved ones are up to date with vaccinations.
Prevention measures: Practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals, can significantly reduce the risk of diphtheria transmission.
Seeking medical care: If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of diphtheria, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis, isolation, and treatment with antibiotics are vital to prevent complications and halt the spread of the infection.