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OSUN: Adeleke orders emergency response to curb diphtheria outbreak

GOVERNOR Ademola Adeleke has mandated the immediate creation of the State Emergency Response Center in response to the recent outbreak of diphtheria infections in some areas of Osun State in order to stop any further spread.

The state has also started treating the affected residents and tracing their contacts.

The governor’s order was contained in a statement released by his spokesman, Olawale Rasheed in response to a situation report from the state ministry of health on the epidemic, which has claimed one life at Osogbo with more suspected cases being tested.

“I have directed that the state emergency response be reactivated. As a matter of urgency, the confirmed case at Osogbo is to be immediately followed up with contact tracing to ascertain status of those who had been in contact with the victim.

“Additionally, emergency treatment must be made available to the infected. We are in touch with the National Centre for Disease Control for exchange of information and technical support. I want to assure our people that proactive steps are being taken to nip in the bud any widespread escalation of the outbreak.

“Our people must be vigilant and observe precautions the Ministry of Health will soon be issuing. We must never forget to immunize our children and wards. Your government is on top of this medical development,” Governor Adeleke assured.

The Governor had already been briefed by the Ministry on the recent reappearance of diphtheria in the state, and he had been told that a suspected 6-year-old patient had exhibited the signs and symptoms of the disease on June 25, 2023, and had passed away from the sickness on July 7.

The Ministry reports that a thorough case investigation, contact tracing, line listing, follow-up, active case search in the community of the index case, and retroactive case search at the community’s health facilities are all ongoing.

Close associates of the index case, including medical personnel, were line-listed, observed, and given medicine.

To gauge household understanding of the disease, an understanding Attitude and Perception form was sent to the neighborhood.

More sensitization has been done at both community and the health facilities, as people were not conversant with the disease.

As a follow up to the Governor’s directive, the Ministry has implemented a number of actions to create awareness which include production and Distribution of handbills, posters and billboards; training of health workers on case definitions and Infection Prevention and Control of diphtheria.

Others are production and airing of jingle on prevention of diphtheria; training and retraining of health workers on sample collection of diphtheria; increase the awareness of immunization acceptability; building capacity of LGA Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers on case detection, sample collection, transportation and management; and intensified risk communication of the disease in the state and its environs for easy detection.

The Ministry has also further advised members of the public to ensure the children and wards are fully vaccinated, avoid crowded environments, consult doctors in case of symptoms and eat fruits and vegetables.

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