The Kano State Government, on Sunday, disclosed that it has activated contact tracing teams to track patients affected by the diphtheria outbreak in the state, as more than 100 patients are on admission to hospital admission, while over 2,000 others have been treated and discharged.
The state Epidemiologist, Dr Abdullahi Karaunmata, who made the disclosure, while updating newsmen, on the outbreak in the state, disclosed that the teams have been deployed to the nooks and crannies of the state, especially in high burdened Local Government Areas.
According to Dr. Kauranmata, the diphtheria cases have been reported in 31, out of 44 LGAs in the state.
Furthermore, he said it has constituted two centres for the treatment of patients, infected with Diphtheria.
The resurgence of diphtheria, according to him may be linked to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a lockdown and disruption of routine immunisation, leaving many children unimmunised on the other hand, due to the conduct 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 outlining the number of states affected, with the total number of confirmed cases, including the mortality among the children. The report has categorised Kano among the states with the highest number of diphtheria patients.
“Currently, we have more than 100 cases on admission. We have treated and discharged over 2,000.
“Diphtheria has been reported in 31 out of the 44 LGAs in the state.“
Through the epidemiology unit, we have now established contact tracing teams across the high-burden LGAs.
The team is actively searching for the children, with symptoms of diphtheria. With this development we have focused our searchlight in all nooks and crannies of the state, searching for these patients.
“Another effort, since January, this year, the Kano State government through the Ministry of Health, established a technical working group on diphtheria, comprising a team of experts from different technical backgrounds, with the support of development partners.
The committee is saddled with the responsibility of controlling the outbreak in the state. Every day, a series of meetings were held, and incident management has since been activated.
“Already, the Kano State Government has established a well-equipped diphtheria treatment centre at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital.
And it has been provided with well-trained human resources, with the support of MSF and other partners, just as 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 administered the required treatment.
“Diphtheria has been with us for a long time but we have successfully immunized our children against it, with one of the antigens in PENTA.
“Caregivers, who took their children for immunisation would remember the PENTA vaccine. But what we are currently experiencing is a resurgence of diphtheria, which scientists have postulated so many reasons that it could be, a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You could recall that during the wave of COVID-19 heat, which caused a lockdown and disruption of routine immunisation, it left many children unimmunised and on the other hand, attributed to the conduct of some parents or caregivers, who are hesitant to take their wards for immunisation.”