Diphtheria is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It is a contagious respiratory disease that affects the throat and sometimes the skin. It is transmitted through droplets from an infected person during coughing, sneezing, or close contact.
Routine immunization programs that include the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine have been proven as the way to combat the infection, and these are administered during early childhood. In 2015 the total amount of globally reported cases was at 4,500. In 1980 this number was reportedly at 100,000. This would have been a 95.5% decrease.
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported multiple outbreaks of diphtheria across the country since December 2022. According to data from June 30, 2023, a total of 798 confirmed cases have been reported in eight states, and the Countries capital Abuja. 782 of the confirmed cases were recorded in Kano, while other states include Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Kaduna, and Osun.
This outbreak has resulted in a total of 80 deaths. Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said they are implementing measures to prevent further spread of the infection.