The house of representatives has asked the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to “intensify” awareness in order to curtail the spread of diphtheria in the country.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary on Thursday, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Muktar Shagaya, a lawmaker from Kwara State.

The lawmaker said recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that a total of 550 cases of diphtheria have been reported in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).


Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by the Corynebacterium species.
It affects the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.

Some symptoms of diphtheria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty in breathing.

Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

People can also get sick from touching infected open sores or ulcers.

To curtail the infection, the Nigeria childhood immunization schedule recommends three doses of pentavalent vaccine (diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine) for children in the 6th, 10th and 14th week of life.

According to NCDC, 789 cases of diphtheria have been recorded in Nigeria, with a total of 80 confirmed deaths as of June 30.


While leading the debate on the motion, Shagaya said diphtheria cases are under-reported in Nigeria, despite the threat it poses to public health.

He said the federal government needs to intensify efforts in sensitizing and educating the public, especially those living in rural areas, on the prevention, control and treatment of the disease.

The motion was unanimously adopted when it was subjected to a voice vote by Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house.

The house thereafter asked the federal ministry of health and NCDC to “ensure that the outbreak of diphtheria is contained effectively” to reduce the fatality rate.

The lawmakers also asked the health agency to “intensify sensitization and enlightenment campaign to prevent and eradicate the scourge of diphtheria and other related diseases” across the country.


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