Home News Kano confirms over 100 diphtheria infections, begins contact tracing

Kano confirms over 100 diphtheria infections, begins contact tracing

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The Kano State Government, on Sunday, revealed that 100 patients with diphtheria disease are presently on admission at the treatment centres, while over 2,000 others have been treated and discharged.

It also disclosed that it has activated contact tracing teams to track patients infected by the infection across the state.

The State Epidemiologist, Dr Abdullahi Karaunmata, who made this known while updating newsmen, on the outbreak of the disease in the state, said teams have been deployed to the nooks and crannies of the state, especially in high burdened Local Government Areas (LGAs).

According to him, diphtheria cases have been reported in 31, out of 44 LGAs, adding that the state government had constituted two treatment centres for patients infected by diphtheria.

The resurgence of diphtheria, according to him may be linked to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a lockdown and disruption of routine immunization services, leaving many children unimmunized.

Dr Kauranmata also said the conduct of some parents or caregivers, who are hesitant to take their wards for immunization also contributed to the outbreak.

According to him, “Recently, NCDC released a list or update outlining the number of states affected, with the total number of confirmed cases, including the mortality among the children. The report has categorised Kano among the states with the highest number of diphtheria patients.

“Currently, we have more than 100 cases on admission. We have treated and discharged over 2,000. Diphtheria has been reported in 31 out of the 44 LGAs in the state.

“Through the epidemiology unit, we have now established contact tracing teams across the high-burden LGAs. The team is actively searching for the children, with symptoms of diphtheria. With this development, we have focused our searchlight in all the nooks and crannies of the state, searching for these patients.

“Another effort, since January, this year, the Kano State government through the Ministry of Health, established a technical working group on diphtheria, comprising a team of experts from different technical backgrounds, with the support of development partners.

“The committee is saddled with the responsibility of controlling the outbreak in the state. Every day, a series of meetings are held and incident management has since been activated.

“Already, the Kano State Government has established a well-equipped diphtheria treatment centre at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital. And it has been provided with well-trained human resources, with the support of MSF and other partners, just as cases have been managed and discharged continuously.”

Continuing, he said, “And looking at the rising number of cases because of the improved awareness, the government has strategized and opened a new treatment centre within the Infectious Disease Hospital, popularly called IDH just to ensure that every suspected case is thoroughly screened, and if found positive, he or she is administered the required treatment.

“Diphtheria has been with us for a long time but we have successfully immunized our children against it, with one of the antigens in PENTA.

“Caregivers, who took their children for immunisation would remember the PENTA vaccine. But what we are currently experiencing is a resurgence of diphtheria, which scientists have postulated so many reasons that could be responsible, including the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.”

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