The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Monday announced that diphtheria, a serious and very contagious disease has broken out in Abuja. It has claimed one already.
The announcement was made at a press conference addressed by the director of public health, Dr. Sadiq Abdulraman.
He called on residents of the FCT to immediately take the vaccine (Pentavalent vaccine) to break the spread of the disease which he explained is an infection of the nose and throat that’s easily preventable by the vaccine.
A patient with diphtheria experiences a sheet of thick, grey matter covering the back of the throat, making breathing hard.
The spread of the disease is by airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes); saliva (kissing or shared drinks).
Abdulraman further explained that a four-year-old child has died in Deidei District of the FCT out of the eight cases recorded.
According to the director, results of samples taken from suspected cases in a village close to Dei-Dei have established the breakout.
He noted that a household of four persons had been identified in the area, while some of the results came positive, one of the family members, an infant of about four years also died of the disease.
Abdulrahman cautioned residents on personal hygiene, advising them to report any strange symptoms, especially relating to their respiratory health.
He said, “two weeks ago we got information from a community within the FCT of about 8 suspected cases which triggered our team to pick some samples which were taken to the National Reference Laboratory Gaduwa and the NCDC. As at Friday afternoon the results came out. Out of the eight suspected cases, one came out positive “.
According to him, the disease had been established in about three states across the country, earlier this year.
He added that, “as we are all aware, precisely in January this year, a national alert was sent out on the outbreak of Diptheria in about three states, Lagos, Kano and Ondo respectively.
“That triggered a national response and the NCDC which is the flagship of disease outbreak and response in the country, sent out a letter to all the states the FCT”.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care, Dr. Yahaya Vatsa said people most at risk are the unvaccinated ones and lives in crowded areas and/or where there is poor sanitation.
According to him: “The symptoms of the disease include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty breathing. Diphtheria spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing and contact with contaminated clothing and objects, thereby underscoring the importance of hygiene and environmental sanitation in the prevention.
“To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, FCT residents are hereby advised to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated with three (3) doses of the pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the National childhood immunisation schedule.”