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Diphtheria: How to Boost Early Detection, Treatment, NCDC Reveals

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, has called on health workers to maintain a high index suspicion for diphtheria in the course of carrying out their duties.

The Director-General, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

Adetifa said there is a need for health workers to maintain a high index suspicion for diphtheria to ensure early detection and treatment most especially in affected states.

“With the recent increase in reported cases of diphtheria in certain states, the NCDC is urging workers to be vigilant and proactive in identifying potential signs and symptoms of the disease.

“This includes being aware of the symptoms such as sore throat, fever, and difficulty in swallowing, as well as the presence of a greyish-white membrane in the throat or nose,” he said.

The NCDC boss underscored the significance of early detection and prompt reporting of suspected cases to prevent further spread of the infection.

He recommended that workers maintain good personal hygiene practices such as regular hand washing and covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing.

Read Also: Pentavalent Vaccine Remains Most Effective Protection Against Diphtheria – NCDC

Additionally, he advised health workers to stay updated on their immunization status and ensure that their vaccinations, including the diphtheria vaccine, are up to date.

Adetifa said that the agency was working closely with health authorities and in healthcare facilities to provide necessary support and resources in response to the potential outbreak.

He said the agency was also conducting surveillance and monitoring the situation to identify any cluster of cases, at the same time, implement appropriate control measures.

“In light of the NCDC’s cautionary message, it is crucial for workers to remain vigilant and informed about the potential risks associated with diphtheria.

“By staying alert, practising good hygiene, and promptly reporting any suspected cases. Workers can contribute to preventing the spread of the disease and protect both themselves and their communities.

“Let them take necessary precautions when handling suspected or confirmed cases of diphtheria,” he advised.

According to him, active case search and risk communication are critical to the prompt detection and management of disease outbreaks.

The DG said that the national rapid response teams are supporting the states in surveillance and sensitisation of communities on diphtheria prevention across diphtheria hotspot areas.