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Diphtheria: ’30’ Children killed in Yobe, 42 Hospitalised

Suspected diphtheria outbreak has killed at least 30 children and left 42 at the isolation center of the Specialist Hospital in Potiskum Local Government area…

Suspected diphtheria outbreak has killed at least 30 children and left 42 at the isolation center of the Specialist Hospital in Potiskum Local Government area of Yobe State.

Tandari, Misau Road, Sabuwar Sakateriya, Arikime, Ramin Kasa, Boriya, Igwanda and Texaco quarters are the most affected areas, Daily Trust can confirm.

A source at the Isolation center of the Specialist hospital in Potiskum revealed that they are faced with inadequate drugs to contain the situation.

The source said so far about 46 cases have been admitted with more than 5 casualties.

Daily Trust correspondent learnt that more than 20 children have died at home while 4 casualties were recorded at the hospital.

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A parent of one of the affected children who gave his name as Abdullahi Muhammad, said ‘‘many children have died at home before coming to the hospital, it’s a deadly disease claiming lives.

‘‘We appeal to the government to promptly respond to save the lives of our innocent children. The symptoms we observed include fever, coughing, weakness of the body among others.”

A Neptune Prime Newspaper reporter Mr. Ibrahim El-Tafsir who resides in Potiskum told Daily Trust that ‘‘even though the government officials refused to tell us the number of mortality rate there are houses where 2 to 4 kids died and we are still burying the dyed children’’.

When contacted, Potiskum zonal Immunization officer Mallam Buba, denied the casualties figures but admitted that no fewer than 42 children were hospitalized.

He lamented that most of the affected children did not die in the hospital, saying the parents of the kids did not bring them to the hospital at the appropriate time.

The Director of the Primary Health Care Unit Potiskum LGA, Mallam Abdurrahman Musa, said based on the report they received, they sensitized the public on how to prevent the disease.

‘‘Yesterday morning I was at the hospital for checks, the sample has been taken to the laboratory for analysis and we will continue to immunize and provide adequate drugs to the isolation center of the hospital,’’ he said

Confirming the outbreak to our correspondent, The Acting Executive Secretary of the Yobe State Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr. Umar Chiroma, said ‘‘When we received the report of suspected diphtheria outbreak in Potiskum over the weekend, we immediately mobilized the LGA team to the affected areas for sensitization to stop the spread of this diseases. For now, we cannot declare it as diphtheria till we take the sample and do a diagnosis from there we can announce what its.

‘‘Some of these patients are above 30 years some 14 while some are 12 to 8 years. Unfortunately, some of their family are the peoples who are none complies with the immunization vaccine which is why it mostly affected children that where not been taken to health facilities. The information which I don’t have is the vaccination during their (children’s) early childhood’’ he said.

While refusing to state the casualty figure, he said ‘‘Some of them have recovered, so we might not have to confirm that it’s diphtheria unless we have diagnosed it. Just this morning I received the update of the outbreak from the director in charge of the zone so we are yet to receive the official mortality rate as of now.”

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