A review of the current diphtheria outbreaks

1Medugu, N., 2Musa-Booth, T. O., *1Adegboro, B., 3Onipede, A. O., 4Babazhitsu, M., and 5Amaza, R.

 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria

21928 Woodlawn Drive, Woodlawn, Maryland 21207, USA

3Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria 

4Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria

5Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Jabi, Abuja, Nigeria  

*Correspondence to: boazadegboro@gmail.com; boaz.adegboro@nileuniverity.edu.ng


Corynebacterium diphtheriae is responsible for both endemic and epidemic diphtheria. The predisposing factor for this disease is the failure to immunize during childhood. Humans are the only hosts of the organism and is present in the upper respiratory tract. The organism is transmitted via airborne route and can cause respiratory obstruction and heart failure because of the exotoxin it produces. There is presently a resurgence of diphtheria outbreaks in Nigeria. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) was notified of suspected diphtheria outbreaks in Lagos and Kano States, Nigeria, in December 2022 and has been issuing monthly reports since that time. This review of the diphtheria outbreaks following online database searches on PubMed and Google Scholar as well as the NCDC/WHO websites and grey literatures, describes the current trend of the outbreaks globally, elucidated the different strains of Corynebacterium responsible for the outbreaks, identified the recent vaccine formulation developed to tackle the outbreaks, and provide information on vaccine delivery and efficacy studies in the country and globally.

 Keywords: Corynebacteria, outbreaks, DPT, immunization coverage

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A review of the current diphtheria outbreaks