CDC Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions

80 Diphtheria Deaths Confirmed in Nigeria

Nigeria reports 782 diphtheria cases July 2023
Nigeria diphtheria
U.S. CDC Nigeria diphtheria outbreak map July 21, 2023
Lagos (Precision Vaccinations News)

As the African country of Nigeria confronts an active outbreak of diphtheria, several countries are alerting international travelers of this health risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 2 - Practice Enhanced Precautions Travel Health Advisory on July 21, 2023, regarding the expanding diphtheria outbreak in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As of June 30, 2023, Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) confirmed diphtheria cases from 33 Local Government Areas in eight States.

Most cases (782) were recorded in Kano, followed by Lagos, Yobe, Katsina, Cross River, Kaduna, and Osun.

The majority (71.7%) of the confirmed cases have occurred among children.

So far, a total of 80 deaths have been recorded during this outbreak.

To reduce the risk of diphtheria, the NCDC has intensified routine diphtheria immunization and offered catch-up vaccination campaigns in states with high numbers of children who have not received any childhood vaccines.

Children are considered fully vaccinated against diphtheria following three doses of diphtheria antitoxin-containing pentavalent vaccine.

Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria that make a toxin. The toxin can cause people to get very sick.

Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing, and people can also get sick from touching open sores or ulcers of people ill with diphtheria.

Additionally, the CDC stated if you are traveling to an affected area, you should be up to date with your diphtheria vaccines. Before travel, discuss the need for a booster dose with your healthcare professional.

If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against diphtheria and may have been exposed, starting treatment with antitoxin and antibiotics as soon as possible is essential.

If you feel sick during travel abroad or after returning to the United States, seek medical care immediately.

And inform your healthcare professional about your diphtheria vaccination status and your recent travel, including where you went and what you did, says the CDC.

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee

Article by
Donald Hackett