Nigerian health authorities confirmed an outbreak of diphtheria Friday and reported that 25 people, most of them children, have died so far in one of the worst-hit states in the country’s north. The total number of confirmed cases and deaths is not yet known. Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has initiated an emergency response to the outbreak and is monitoring the situation in four of the nation’s 36 states. The health commission in Kano state reported more than 70 suspected cases along with 25 deaths related to the bacterial infection, which causes breathing difficulties, heart failure and paralysis. Nigeria has not had a diphtheria outbreak of this magnitude in recent years, although the capacity to diagnose the disease and treat patients is limited in many remote areas. In 2020, United Nations children’s agency UNICEF warned that routine immunisations against the infection had dropped in Nigeria, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today: December 10, 2023