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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Diphtheria outbreak: NBMA cautions public, urges adherence to safety measures

The National Biosafety Management Agency has called on the public to take precautionary measures in other to prevent and stop the spread of Diphtheria infection in the country.

Dr Rufus Ebegba
Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA)

Diphtheria is an infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxin. It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart rhythm problems, and even death.

Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who said this in a press statement made available to EnviroNews on Friday, January 20, 2023, stated that, owing to the current spread of the disease, it is important for the public to take drastic steps to stop further infection and spread of the disease.

“It is very important that Nigerians should be aware of the health risk Diphtheria disease poses and take caution by adhering to safety measures as the disease spreads further.

“The public to help stop the spread by reporting any case or symptom of Diphtheria to the nearest medical facility, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health and other relevant government agencies nearest to them.

“The symptoms for Diphtheria infection include sore throat, cough, drooling of saliva, change of voice, neck swelling, abnormal breathing, fever or mouth odour, among others.

“This illness can be transmitted from infected Diphtheria bacteria spread from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets, like from coughing or sneezing. People can also get sick from touching infected open sores or ulcers. Those at increased risk of getting sick include people in the same household, people with a history of frequent, close contact with the patient and people directly exposed to secretions from the suspected infection site (e.g., mouth, skin) of the patient.”

Dr. Ebegba advised that it is essential to adhere strictly to the public health safety measures and report likely cases of signs and symptoms to a health facility nearest to you. He said the NBMA is taking proactive steps while working with other line Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure that biosecurity measures are taken to contain the disease.

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