Jigawa State has recorded 91 suspected cases of diphtheria in 14 local government areas, with 10 deaths.
The permanent secretary, Jigawa Ministry of Health, Salisu Muazu, disclosed this to journalists on Saturday in Dutse, the state capital.
Mr Muazu said patients with symptoms of diphtheria were received in 14 local governments about two weeks ago. He added these were areas bordering states with the outbreak.
“There has been a diphtheria outbreak in the northern parts of Nigeria in the last four months; this is especially in neighbouring Kano, Yobe, Katsina, and Bauchi states,’’ said Mr Muazu.
He said two samples from Kazaure and Jahun local government areas of Jigawa were confirmed in Abuja.
“The National Reference Laboratory in Abuja confirmed two of the 91 suspected samples we sent to have tested positive to diphtheria,’’ Mr Muazu said.
He explained that the majority of the victims were those that either did not receive complete immunisation or those that received zero doses of childhood immunisation.
“In fact, in the last 10 years, we have not had diphtheria in Jigawa, but in those neighbouring states that now have the epidemic.
“The reason we have it now may be due to the COVID-19 period when healthcare services completely broke down,’’ he said.
Mr Muazu urged parents and community leaders to support and cooperate with health workers as the government had concluded plans to conduct mop-up immunisation in affected local government areas.
He also called on residents to promptly report persons with symptoms of diphtheria to Disease Notification Officers in the local government areas or to the nearest health facility.