Following an outbreak of 91 suspected cases of diphtheria in 14 local government areas throughout Jigawa State, at least 10 people have died.
At a press conference held by the State Ministry of Health on Sunday in Dutse, this information was confirmed.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Salisu Mu’azu, said so far, two cases had been confirmed at Kazaure and Jahun local government areas, while some samples have been taken to Abuja for confirmation.
“So far, we have confirmed two cases in Kazaure and Jahun local government areas, while additional samples have been sent to Abuja for confirmation,” he stated.
Mu’azu pointed out that this outbreak was particularly concerning as it occurred in areas with a history of zero-dose routine immunization against the epidemic.
According to him, the ministry swiftly initiated an investigation, gathering essential information and data from the affected regions. They promptly notified the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHDA) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to coordinate further actions.
He also stressed the urgency of the situation, saying, “The state government is actively preparing to administer vaccines as soon as they become available.” He also attributed the outbreak to the disruptions in healthcare services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that the suspension of routine immunization during that period posed a significant challenge.
In response, the NPHDA and NCDC have been closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with the state ministry to ensure a swift and effective response to contain the outbreak.
Local communities are urged to remain vigilant and follow any directives issued by health authorities to mitigate the spread of diphtheria. The tragic loss of lives underscores the importance of maintaining robust healthcare systems even during challenging times.