…2,000 others discharged
By Bashir Bello, Kano
The Kano State government says it has activated contact tracing teams to trace patients affected by the diphtheria outbreak in the state as more than 100 patients were on admission and over 2,000 others treated and discharged.
The State Epidemiologist, Dr. Abdullahi Kauranmata who stated this while speaking with newsmen on update of the outbreak in the state, said the teams were deployed to the nooks and crannies of the state, especially high burden Local Government Areas.
Dr. Kauranmata said the diphtheria cases have been reported in 31 out of 44 LGAs in the state.
He also said it has set up two treatment centre for the treatment of patients who come down with the infection.
He noted that the resurgence of diphtheria may be linked to the aftermath of covid-19 pandemic which caused lockdown and disruption of routine immunization, leaving many children unimmunized and on the other hand, the attitude of some parents or caregivers who are hesitant to take their wards for immunization.
According to him, “Recently, NCDC has released a list or update given the number of states affected with the total number of confirmed cases including the mortality among the children. The report has put Kano among those states with the highest number.
“Currently, we have more than 100 cases on admission. We have treated and discharged over 2,000.
“The Diphtheria have been reported in 31 out of the 44 LGAs in the state.
“Through the epidemiology unit, we have now established a contact tracing teams across the high burden LGAs. The team are actively searching for the children with symptoms of diphtheria. With this, we have put searchlight in all nooks and crannies of the state looking for these patients.
“Another effort, since January, this year, the Kano State government through ministry of health established a technical working group on diphtheria. It comprises of a team of experts from different technical background with the support of development partners. The committee is saddled with the responsibility of controlling this outbreak in the state. Every day, series of meetings conducted, incident management have since been activated.
“Already, the Kano State has established a well equipped diphtheria treatment centre at the Murtala Muhammad specialist hospital. And it has been provided with well trained human resource with the support of MSF and other partners. And cases have been managed and discharged continuously.
“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, if found positive he or she is given the required treatment.
“Diphtheria has been with us for long but we have successfully immunized our children against it with one of the antigens in PENTA. Caregivers who took their children for immunization would remember PENTA vaccine. But what we are experiencing now is resurgence of diphtheria which scientist have postulated so many reasons that it could be as a result of impact of Covid-19 pandemic. You could recall that when the wave of covid heat hard, which caused lockdown and disruption of routine immunization, leaving many children unimmunized and on the other hand, the attitude of some parents or caregivers who are hesitant to take their wards for immunization,” Dr. Kauranmata however stated.