No fewer than 122 children have reportedly died from diphtheria in the last seven months in Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Thursday by Ms. Safiya Akau, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Communication Officer in Nigeria.
She stated that the infection had claimed the lives of 122 children in Nigeria as of July 2023.
She noted that UNICEF was stepping up its efforts to combat the rising outbreak of the disease that has afflicted children in 27 Nigerian states.
Diphtheria is a dangerous infection caused by a toxin-producing bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It can cause breathing difficulties, heart rhythm disorders, and death.
It mainly affects the nasal and throat mucous membranes. The disease is relatively uncommon.
According to Akau, 3,850 suspected cases of diphtheria were reported in July, with 1,387 cases confirmed.
Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Lagos, Sokoto, Zamfara, and the FCT were among the states affected, accounting for 98% of the suspected cases.
She noted that 71.5 percent of confirmed cases were discovered in children aged two to fourteen.
“It is heartbreaking to note that only 22 percent of the confirmed cases received their routine childhood immunization vaccinations,” Akau started.