Women health

 What is the main cause of diphtheria?

In  KANO Nigeria where 25 individuals, most of whom were children, have already passed away in one of the worst-affected states in the country's north, according to Nigerian health officials, who confirmed an epidemic of diphtheria on Friday.

There has not yet been a complete count of confirmed illnesses and fatalities. According to a statement from Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the agency's director, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control & Prevention has launched an emergency reaction to the epidemic and is keeping a watch on the situation in four of the nation's 36 states.

According to Dr. Aminu Tsanyawa, the head of Kano state's health commission, the state has more than 70 suspected instances of bacterial infection and 25 deaths that are linked to it.

Dyspnea, heart failure, and paralysis are all effects of diphtheria. The most vulnerable individuals are those who lack vaccinations, reside in densely populated areas, or in places with poor sanitation.

A diphtheria outbreak of this size has not occurred in Nigeria in recent memory, despite the fact that many isolated communities lack the resources necessary for accurate diagnosis and patient care.

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to UNICEF, contributed to a decline in routine vaccines against the infection in Nigeria in 2020.

According to Dr. Abdullahi Kauran-Mata, the state's top epidemiologist, authorities were first informed about an outbreak among youngsters in a Kano state hospital in late December.

As soon as we received the information, we swiftly organized a team through the ministry of health, and the investigations got underway, according to Kauran-Mata.


The dangerous bacterial strains known as Corynebacterium diphtheriae that cause diphtheria produces a toxin. People can become seriously ill from the poison.

How it spread

The bacteria that cause diphtheria spread from one person to another most commonly through respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing. Touching infected open sores or ulcers can potentially make someone sick. Those who are more likely to become ill are:

  1. people that live in the same house
  2. Those who have previously had consistent, close interaction with the patient
  3. People who have been directly exposed to the patient's secretions at the likely infection location (such as their mouth or skin)

Signs and symptoms

Both the respiratory tract as well as the skin can become infected with diphtheria. The damaged body part will determine the symptoms of diphtheria. If a person is exposed to diphtheria, they typically begin to feel sick within 2 to 5 days. If a doctor suspects you have lung diphtheria, they will immediately order therapy for you.

Respiratory diphtheria

The heart and lungs, which includes bodily parts used for breathing, are where the germs are most frequently found. The respiratory system's lining can get contaminated with bacteria, which can lead to:

  1. Weakness
  2. Throat pain
  3. light fever
  4. Swollen glands

A toxin produced by the bacteria destroys healthy tissues in the respiratory system. The dead tissue develops into a thick, gray coating within two to three days, which can accumulate in the nose or throat. This dense, gray covering is known as a pseudomembrane by medical professionals. It can obstruct the tonsils, throat, voice box, and nasal tissues, making breathing and swallowing extremely difficult.

Damage to the heart, nerves, and kidneys may result from the toxin if it enters the bloodstream.

Skin infection due to diphtheria

The bacterium can also infect the skin, leading to open sores or ulcers. Therefore, severe illness from diphtheria skin infections is extremely uncommon.



The DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td vaccinations are all used to prevent diphtheria in the United States. The DTaP and Tdap vaccines help prevent pertussis in addition to preventing diphtheria and tetanus (whooping cough).

Preventive measures such as antibiotics

To avoid getting sick, the CDC advises close contact* with someone who has diphtheria to take antibiotics. Experts refer to this as prophylaxis (pro-fuh-lak-sis).

Close contacts of someone who has diphtheria should also receive antibiotics:

  1. 7 to 10 days after their last exposure, they were observed for any potential sickness
  2. using a sample taken from the nose and throat to test for diphtheria
  3. If they are not current on their vaccinations, they are given a booster dose for diphtheria.

Each case of diphtheria is investigated by health agencies to determine all close contacts and ensure that they receive the proper preventive measures.


Close contacts are those having a history of recurrent, close contact with the patient, members of the patient's home, or those who have been exposed directly to secretions from the patient's suspected infection site.


Common signs and symptoms are typically used by doctors to diagnose diphtheria in patients. They can swab the back of the throat or the nose to check for diphtheria-causing germs. A doctor can also try to culture the germs using a sample from an open sore or ulcer. A patient is diagnosed with diphtheria if the bacteria multiply and produce the diphtheria toxin. However, since the germs take time to develop, it is crucial to begin therapy as soon as a doctor suspects respiratory diphtheria.


Treatment for diphtheria includes:

  1. To block the bacterium toxin from harming the body, use diphtheria antitoxin.
  2. Although it is rarely used for diphtheria skin infections, this treatment is crucial for pulmonary diphtheria infections.
  3. Antibiotics are used to eradicate and destroy germs. This is crucial for diphtheria infections of the skin, respiratory system, skin, and other body parts (e.g., eyes, blood).

48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment, people with diphtheria are typically no longer contagious. To ensure that the germs are totally eradicated from the body, it is crucial to finish the entire course of antibiotics. The doctor will perform tests after the patient completes the entire course of treatment to ensure that the germs are no longer present in the patient's body.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post