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Diphtheria in Nigeria: update 1

29 Mar 2023

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports continuing transmission of diphtheria across the country.

From 8 May 2022 to 28 February 2023 there have been 1 064 suspected cases in 21 of 36 States, with  Kano (843 cases), Yobe (86 cases), Katsina (46 cases) and Lagos (22 cases) States reporting the greatest numbers.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection spread mainly through respiratory secretions from coughs and sneezes. It can cause severe difficulties with breathing. The infection can also affect the skin, causing ulcers. 

Advice for travellers

Travelling abroad can increase your risk of diphtheria.  Make sure you have completed the schedule of vaccines for life in the UK.

  • This means receiving 5 doses of a vaccine giving protection against diphtheria by the time you are a teenager.

If you have completed the national schedule of vaccines for life in the UK:

  • If it has been more than 10 years since your last diphtheria vaccine, you should get a booster dose before travelling to Nigeria.

To reduce your risk of becoming infected whilst travelling, you should also practice good respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene, especially when you are in or have recently been in overcrowded or busy places.

See the fitfortravel Diphtheria page for further information.