BBC News, Lagos
The head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has told the BBC that the public does not need to worry about the recent outbreak of diphtheria in the country.
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa’s comments come after news that at least 25 people have died in the northern state of Kano from the bacterial infection, with 33 more cases reported in other parts of the country, including the commercial hub of Lagos.
Diphtheria symptoms include fever, a sore throat, a cough and breathing difficulties. Infected patients may also develop a swollen neck, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and have a thick grey or white patch on the tonsils or at the back of the throat.
The NCDC said it is monitoring other suspected cases and advised people to be aware of their vaccination status and to make sure children especially are properly immunised.
The infection is spread by coughs and sneezes, or by sharing items such as cups, cutlery, clothes or bedding with an infected person.
Dr Adetifa said that Nigerians need not worry as various antibiotics and treatments are readily available to curb infections
Photo- Diphtheria can be prevented with a vaccination and can be treated with antibiotics Image caption: Diphtheria can be prevented with a vaccination andcan be treated with antibiotics