The Federal Capital Territory has announced the breakout of Ditheria in parts of the city of Abuja.
Dr. Sadiq Abdulrahman, FCT Director, Public Health Department, announced the outbreak, at a news conference on Monday, in Abuja.
While addressing the news conference, Abdulrahman, said the disease had already killed a four-year-old, adding that outbreaks earlier recorded in Lagos, Ondo, and Kano states in January, had triggered a national response by the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control.
The Director said the outbreak was confirmed after tests on samples of suspected cases in a community near Dei-Dei, came back positive.
“Two weeks ago, we got information from a community within the FCT of eight cases and that made our team to pick some samples.
“The samples were taken to the National Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, and the NCDC, and one of the suspected cases came out positive,” he said.
He urged residents to report any strange symptoms, particularly respiratory challenges to relevant authorities and tasked them to maintain good personal hygiene.
Abdulrahman said the Department was collaborating with neighbouring states, to checkmate the spread of the disease through border surveillance.
Also, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Yahaya Vatsa, warned that unvaccinated people who lived in crowded and unhygienic environments were at high risk of contracting the disease.
He urged residents to ensure that their children were fully vaccinated, in line with the National Childhood Immunization Schedule.
“To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, FCT residents are hereby advised to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated with three doses of the pentavalent vaccine. This is recommended in the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule,” he said.
Vatsa advised individuals with any of the signs and symptoms to isolate themselves and notify the FCT Disease Surveillance Notification Officer or the Emergency Operation Center, through the FCT Call Center toll-free lines.
Diphtheria is an infection caused by strains of a bacteria known as Corynebacterium Diphtheriae which produces toxins that cause difficulty in breathing, and heart rhythm problems, and could lead to death.