Wild Polio Vaccination

Africa Detects First Deadly Wild Polio Case In Five Years

Wild Polio Vaccination

Africa Detects First Deadly Wild Polio Case In Five Years.

Health authorities in Africa have announced the first outbreak of wild poliovirus in at least five years.

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This was announced by the health authorities in Malawi after a case was detected in a young child.

Wild Poliovirus in Africa

The Wild Poliovirus type 1 case was detected in Lilongwe after over five years of hiatus.

Wellness Healthcare recalls that Africa was declared polio-free in August 2020.

The World Health Organisation declared this after various forms of wild polio were eliminated in the region.  

A press statement by the WHO revealed that the strain of polio detected in Malawi is similar to the one in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

This health news platform understands that Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The WHO, however, clarified that since this case was imported, it does not affect Africa’s wild-poliovirus free status.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti of the WHO Regional Director for Africa said:

“As long as wild polio exists anywhere in the world all countries remain at risk of importation of the virus.

“Following the detection of wild polio in Malawi, we’re taking urgent measures to forestall its potential spread.

“Thanks to a high level of polio surveillance in the continent and the capacity to quickly detect the virus.

“We can swiftly launch a rapid response and protect children from the debilitating impact of this disease.”

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The UN-Health agency said it is supporting the Malawian health authorities to do the following:

  • Carry out a risk assessment and outbreak response.
  • Provide supplemental immunization.
  • Surveillance of the disease in neighbouring countries.
  • Manage Data management.
  • Communications and operations.

It said:

“The Global Polio Eradication Initiative Rapid Response Team which is based at the WHO Regional Office in Africa is deploying a team to Malawi to support coordination, surveillance, data management, communications, and operations. Partners organisations will also send teams to support emergency operations and innovative vaccination campaign solutions.”

The WHO Regional Office for Africa Polio Coordinator, Dr Modjirom Ndoutabe said the last case of wild poliovirus in Africa was detected in Nigeria.

Dr Ndoutabe said “The last case of wild poliovirus in Africa was identified in northern Nigeria in 2016 and globally there were only five cases in 2021.

“Any case of wild poliovirus is a significant event and we will mobilise all resources to support the country’s response.”

Also, read the latest health news in Nigeria on COVID-19

What is Polio?

According to the CDC, polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by a virus known as the poliovirus. It attacks the nervous system and the spinal cord which might cause total paralysis. The virus spreads from person to person through:

  • Faecal-oral route.
  • Contaminated water or food.
  • Multiples in the intestine.

There is currently no cure for the poliovirus, however, it can be prevented through a polio vaccine. Source: PUNCH HealthWise

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