Diphtheria mortality in Nigeria: the need to stock diphtheria antitoxin

  • AE Sadoh
  • WE Sadoh


INTRODUCTION: Diphtheria had been a major of cause of childhood mortality until the advent of an effective vaccine. Even in Nigeria with low to moderate coverage with the third dose of DPT the number of reported cases of diphtheria had been reducing. However, in a recent report we noted an increase in the incidence of diphtheria. The mainstay of management of diphtheria is the Diphtheria antitoxin. Diphtheria antitoxin is not available in Nigeria. We present the mortalities from diphtheria to highlight the need to stock the diphtheria antitoxin.
METHODOLOGY: A review of the case notes of patients managed for diphtheria between August 2008 and 2010 was done and relevant data extracted.
RESULTS: Nine cases of diphtheria were seen and three mortalities were recorded giving a mortality rate of 33.3%. One of the deaths was from myocardial involvement and acute renal failure while another was from possible septicaemia. The third mortality occurred at home after discharge from hospital
DISCUSSION: Most of the symptoms of diphtheria are due to the effects of the diphtheria exotoxin. The non availability of the antitoxin for the management of these children contributed to their mortality.
CONCLUSION: As long as diphtheria remains uneradicated the need for the antitoxin is imperative.

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eISSN: 1595-689X