IN Nigeria Reported from May 2022 onwards More cases of diphtheria. However, over the past few months, the local health service has reported that the epidemic has spread at an alarming rate. The fight against the disease is carried out by local and state level authorities and international organizations. So far, it has been discovered in the country 17 thousand diseases.
Worryingly, the epidemic has spread to other West African countries Niger And GuineaAnd Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) believes these countries are currently facing the most severe outbreaks ever documented on the continent.
This is the center of the disease Kano, a northern state in Nigeria. Doctors there confirmed this year 9,310 cases And 368 deaths. At its peak, MSF in Kano reported up to 700 cases a week. The rate dropped in September, but the number of sick people is slowly starting to rise again – it is now around 500 a week.
Epidemic diphtheria in Africa. Children are especially at risk
– I have never experienced an epidemic like this in terms of number of victims, deaths and complications. Dr. Hashim Juma, who works for MSF in Kano as an emergency medical coordinator, says:
– There are many diseases with complications, but this is the most serious. Patients vomit blood and leg paralysis. The mortality rate is particularly high among children – underlines.
CNN notes that doctors are struggling to effectively treat patients Absence of diphtheria antitoxins (DAT).. MSF says it has only been able to serve 5,000 patients so far. DAT levels.
– Without treatment, the risk of death drops to 50% and 5%. In the case of treatment – Dr. says Dagemlidet Tesfaye Worku, head of the Emergency Medicine Program in West and Central Africa at MSF.
Antitoxins And Antibiotics They are particularly difficult to obtain due to their scarcity and the cost and time required to produce them.
Dr. According to Dagemlidet Tesfaye Worku, producers need four weeks to produce a batch of 1.5 thousand. DAT levels, a Antivenom treatment alone can cost up to €350 per patient.
Distrust of vaccines
Disease can be prevented by taking VaccinesBut they are not widely used in Africa.
According to MSF in November Only 30 percent of patients in Kano had full protection after vaccination. The rate is lowest in the northwestern state of Sokoto at only 6%. In response, WHO and UNICEF launched a vaccination campaign in 14 states in Nigeria.
Dr. Juma explains in Kano People are hopeless And they lack awareness about vaccines. – There is an aversion to vaccines. People have had bad experiences with side effects before. “During our first intervention, we saw that people were not very favorable to the vaccine group,” says the doctor.
The lack of vaccination also applies to other parts of West Africa 65 percent of diphtheria patients never received a single dose.
At the end of November, the WHO released updated data on diphtheria, highlighting the importance of vaccines in fighting the epidemic. System recommends Administration of six doses Babies as young as six weeks old for this purpose Ensuring long-term security.
Diphtheria is a very dangerous disease
Diphtheria An infectious disease caused by a bacterium – diphtheria corynebacteria, or more precisely, by the toxin it produces. It usually affects the respiratory tract or skin, although if not treated properly, it can also damage internal organs.
Infection is usually through dropletsLess frequently by direct contact with respiratory secretions or lesions.
under Characteristic symptoms of diphtheriaIncludes the presence of characteristic grey-brown membranes closely adhering to the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract.
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