Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria Claims 40 Lives; 216 Cases Confirmed

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Nigerian health authorities have confirmed 216 diphtheria cases with 40 deaths in four states of the country since December 2022.

In the latest situation report on diphtheria reaching Xinhua news agency on Tuesday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said the northern state of Kano has the highest burden of confirmed cases at 211, with 38 deaths.

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The country's southwest state of Lagos reported two confirmed cases with two deaths, the northeast state of Yobe with two confirmed cases and no death, and the southwest state of Osun with one confirmed case and no death, said the report.

Of the 216 confirmed cases, 184 were aged two to 14 years, said the report, adding the agency was supporting the response activities in the affected states, including vaccination programmes, Xinhua news agency reported.


Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the Corynebacterium species of bacteria that affects a person's nose, throat, and sometimes skin. The symptoms of diphtheria include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, and swelling of the neck. In severe cases, a thick gray or white patch appears on the tonsils and/or at the back of the throat, which is associated with difficulty breathing.