Nigeria’s health authorities confirmed a deadly outbreak of diftheria on Friday (Jan.20).
In Kano state, one of the worst-hit states in the country’s north, Dr. Aminu Tsanyawa the health commission for the state has recorded more than 70 suspected cases along with 25 deaths related to the bacterial infection.
The total number of confirmed cases and deaths is not yet known.
Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention revealed it initiated an emergency response to the outbreak and is monitoring the situation in four of the nation’s 36 states.
Authorities were first alerted about an outbreak among children in Kano state in late December, according to the state’s chief epidemiologist.
Diphtheria causes breathing difficulties, heart failure and paralysis. The people most at risk are unvaccinated or live areas or with poor sanitation.
Nigeria has not had a diphtheria outbreak of this magnitude in recent years. The nation’s capacity to diagnose the disease and treat patients is limited in many remote areas.