By: Ogunleye Oluwapelumi
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has confirmed an outbreak of deadly diphtheria in Abuja after it claimed the life of a four-year-old boy out of eight reported cases. The Director, of FCT Public Health Department, Sadiq Abdulrahman, who announced this on Monday at a press briefing, said information available to it confirmed that the disease was imported from neighbouring Niger State. The department was alerted of a possible outbreak of the disease in Dei-Dei two weeks ago, with eight suspected cases reported.
Abdulrahman added that the department immediately swung into action by activating its emergency response through which it collected samples for testing at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa as well as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, noting that the outcome of the result which came last Friday, indicated that one came out positive out of the eight.
The director explained that the department was collaborating with neighbouring states to checkmate the further spread of the disease from contagious states through border surveillance as he advised residents to take their personal hygiene seriously.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of, the Primary Health Care Board, Ishaq Vatsa, said diphtheria is caused by bacteria whose signs include fever, running nose, difficulty in breathing, and can be transmitted through sneezing, droplets, coughing, and contact with infected persons.
Vatsa urged residents to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the appropriate authorities. The FCTA has also called on parents to ensure their children are vaccinated against the disease to prevent further spread.