Several diseases have been spreading rapidly around the world. Most of these diseases can be combated through immunisation, while others might not. A Professor at the University of Lagos has stated the lack of immunisation coverage can result in a fatal throat infection.
What is Diphtheria disease?
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that is spread from person to person via airborne droplets. Because it is most frequent in children under the age of five, most people become immune or protected, either because they have had a minor case of the virus or because they have been immunised. Since childhood immunisation, which includes diphtheria, the number of cases of diphtheria that we have seen in the past has been relatively low.
It was previously known as diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. They have now added two more shots to it, bringing the total number of immunisations given to children to five. It is given to children at six, ten, and fourteen weeks of age. In most situations, it protects individuals for life, but when diphtheria recurs, it is often owing to inadequate immunisation coverage, which means that most people are not immunised adequately or that the immunisation delivered is ineffective to allow for seroconversion and increased protection.
Other explanations could be that the vaccines administered were ineffective due to storage techniques or time of storage; all of these factors could have impacted its efficacy.
What other means can this disease be spread?
The sole known method is through air droplets, and they can transmit from person to person. However, several conditions, including overcrowding, high temperatures, and the dry season, could hasten the spread. Through waves, a short distance radius between a carrier and a potential victim could also be a crucial component. If the wave velocity is high, the droplet can travel a greater and longer distance than typical. When the temperature rises, so do bacterial replication. When this happens, the majority of the signs and symptoms you may observe are typical of an upper respiratory tract infection.
If a victim sneezes or coughs into the air, it can be inhaled by a neutral person, who becomes infected as a result. So, being infected is determined by a variety of criteria, including the dosage of exposure, frequency of exposure, level of exposure, and age. Younger people are more likely to contract it than older people.
What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
Sneezing, coughing, and trouble breathing are the most common symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. In some cases, they may experience an increase in temperature, but this is not characteristic of diphtheria. The signs and symptoms after exposure varies by individual, but on average, they appear between five and fourteen days after contact. Some people may experience it considerably sooner than that.
How contagious and serious is the disease?
It is a fatal condition, especially if it produces respiratory distress or inability to breathe well, because the bacterium affects the lining of the respiratory tract and can close up the respiratory tract, making it impossible for the victim to breathe.
Individual response to infection is determined by the victim’s level of immunity to the virus, how well the victim has been exposed, and the victim’s capacity to seek treatment early. As I previously stated, it is a bacterial infection, and as such, medicines could be quite effective if diagnosed early and antibiotics are delivered.
How can this disease be managed and treated?
An early diagnosis with a high index of suspicion is advised. Most of the time, the diagnosis is more of a swap of microscopic culture and sensitivity. However, early detection and treatment will go a long way toward easing or minimizing morbidity and mortality as a result of the disease. As a result, victims should see their primary care physician as soon as possible.
When does the use of vaccines become necessary?
The vaccine is administered as part of standard childhood immunisation to protect children from the plague, particularly while an epidemic is present. There may be a need for vaccination around the site of the diagnosed case. However, most of the time, the comeback is due to a shift in the organisms that cause the bacterium; that is if a different strain is there, but when the disease is contracted and the sufferer survives, a good level of immunity is developed against it.
Is it necessary to revaccinate people now that there is a resurgence?
Both yes and no. Yes, because sometimes we need to conduct a quick survey to determine whether or not any of us who thought we were immunized were indeed immunized. Then, in locations where cases have been identified, widespread immunisation around the location of source identification is required.
What should Nigerians and government agencies do to combat the spread?
There is a need for greater surveillance as well as the implementation of early management strategies such as post-assisted breathing and antibiotics. We must also enhance our culture of air hygiene.
Is Nigeria prepared to deal with this outbreak?
There is no disease that cannot be controlled; it all depends on the attitude of those who have the disease, the attitude of those who manage the disease, and the attitude of public health officials and the government in providing resources to manage the condition.
The NCDC has issued notifications regarding these instances, and we also need to watch our neighbouring nations so that we can monitor people who are coming from those locations into our environment if there are cases there.
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