The Ondo State Government has urged parents to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated and maintain the highest standards of hygiene to reduce the chances of contracting diphtheria.
Prof. Francis Faduyile, Special Adviser to the governor on Health, gave the advice in an interview with the News Reporter in Akure on Tuesday.
News reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had recently reported 123 cases of diphtheria and 38 deaths in four states.
While noting that diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, Faduyile said keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best protection against the disease.
He said Ondo state has not recorded any diphtheria case, but had to be on alert because some neighbouring states were already recording the outbreak of the disease.
According to him, diphtheria is a highly contagious bacteria infection spread through coughs and sneezes or through close contact with someone who is infected and if not quickly attended to may lead to death.
The special adviser said that the disease, which usually affected children between the ages of one and six, was treatable if quickly detected.
“We have had cases of diphtheria in Lagos and they are trailing some people in Osun, and what we have done in Ondo State is to get the information out to the public.
“Diphtheria usually affects children. The truth about it is that it has a vaccine and what we need to do is to ensure that our children are well vaccinated to guide against the severity of the disease and the advocacy has started.
“At the last state executive meeting, it has been directed that the Ministry of Health must increase the information so that people are aware that we have a new spread of diphtheria.
“It is just for people to be aware so that they can guide against it so that anybody who has it can be quarantined, and should not have contact with the people so that he/she does not transmit it to the next person.
“But the best way to take care of it is by vaccination, we should encourage all our parents to ensure that all our children have the vaccine in their appropriate year.
“Parents should improve on their hygiene and once you have that whooping cough, you go to the hospital.
“It is treatable once it is discovered early enough and the people living around that place can be trailed, so that it won’t spread,” he said.