As of July 2023, Diphtheria has caused the deaths of 122 children in Nigeria, according to Ms Safiya Akau, UNICEF’s Communications Officer in the country.
The outbreak has affected children in 27 states, with Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Lagos, Sokoto, Zamfara, and the FCT being the most impacted, accounting for 98% of suspected cases. So far, there have been 3,850 suspected cases, of which 1,387 have been confirmed.
Diphtheria is a severe infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria, producing toxins that can lead to breathing difficulties, heart problems, and even death.
Notably, the majority of confirmed cases were found in children between two and 14 years old. UNICEF is intensifying its efforts to combat the growing outbreak.
“It is heart-breaking to note that only 22 per cent of the confirmed cases received their routine childhood immunisation vaccinations,” Akau quoted Ms Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria as saying. (NAN)