Diphtheria, lassa fever receiving adequate attention, NCDC says
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Monday, his ministry was unaware of the alleged deadly flu reported to have claimed several lives, including Nigerians and is currently spreading in other countries.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, he noted that neither the World Health Organisation (WHO) nor the US Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC) has contacted the Federal Ministry of Health regarding the reported deadly flu said to be spreading in China.
Ehanire, who urged Nigerians to disregard the report of the deadly flu and avoid unnecessary panic and anxiety, stated that neither the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria has contacted the Ministry of Health on any disease outbreak as against the practice of formal notification of any such public health issue from China.
He said: “We can’t verify the case of the reported deadly flu now. However, we are on the lookout for anything of public health concern because it’s our duty to protect the health of our people. However, we have referred the matter to NCDC and Port Health Services so they can be at alert. “Sincerely speaking, the messages on social media about the deadly flu in China are odd and strange to us.
“The ideal situation is that whenever there’s an outbreak of any flu or deadly disease anywhere, we hear it first from WHO. But up till now, WHO has not contacted us with any information about the flu nor has the Chinese Embassy communicated to us on that matter.
“Usually, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria will send an official to communicate to us in case of any such thing but that has not been done. So, we are wondering about the authenticity of the report going around in the social media and some conventional media. However, we are yet to get any confirmation from the right organisations.”
Meanwhile, the Director General of NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, informed journalists that the case of diphtheria, lassa fever, and other diseases are receiving adequate attention.
Adetifa, who was represented by Priscilla Ibekpe, at the press conference, said as at Sunday, January 22, 2023, there are 123 confirmed cases of diphtheria and 38 deaths recorded.
Detailed breakdown by states indicated that Kano State has 100 confirmed cases and 32 deaths. Lagos State has five confirmed cases and three deaths; Yobe has 17 confirmed cases and three deaths, while Osun State has one confirmed case and zero death.
He confirmed that NCDC has sent correspondence to all states to heighten surveillance for diphtheria and promptly report all suspected or confirmed cases accordingly.
“The Federal Government, through the NCDC, is also working closely with states to respond and control the spread of the outbreak,” he said.