The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has confirmed the outbreak of diphtheria, a deadly disease, which has now claimed the life of a four-year-old boy out of five reported cases.
Director, of FCT Public Health Department, Sadiq Abdulrahman, who made the declaration, yesterday, in Abuja said information available to the department indicated that the disease was imported from neighbouring Niger State.
He disclosed that two weeks ago, the department was alerted to a possible outbreak of the disease in Dei-Dei, with eight suspected cases reported.
Abdulraman explained that, of the eight cases recorded so far, a four-year-old died in Dei-Dei District.
According to him, results of samples taken from suspected cases in a village close to Dei-Dei established the breakout. Cautioning residents on personal hygiene, he advised them to report any strange symptom, especially relating to their respiratory health.
He said: “Two weeks ago, we got information from a community within FCT of about eight suspected cases, which made our team to pick samples to the National Reference Laboratory Gaduwa and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). As at Friday afternoon, the results came out. Out of the eight suspected cases, one came out positive.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care, Yahaya Vatsa, said people most at risk were the unvaccinated and those living in crowded areas and/or where there is poor sanitation.
“Symptoms of the disease include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling and difficulty in breathing. Diphtheria spreads easily through direct contact with infected persons, droplets from coughing or sneezing and contact with contaminated clothing and objects. There is need for hygiene and environmental sanitation.
“To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, FCT residents are, hereby, advised to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated with three doses of the Pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the national childhood immunisation schedule,” he said.
Yahaya Vatsa also advised those with signs and symptoms suggestive of diphtheria to isolate themselves and notify the FCT Disease Surveillance Notification Officer (DSNO) and/or the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) through the FCT Call Centre toll-free lines.
“Close contacts with confirmed cases of diphtheria are being closely monitored with prophylactic antibiotics,” he noted.