Wild poliovirus in the Horn of Africa
, May 22, 2013
The Horn of Africa (northeast Africa) is currently experiencing an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), according to a statement.
A four-month-old girl near Dadaab, Kenya, developed symptoms of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) last month. Two healthy contacts of the child tested positive for WPV1. They are the first laboratory confirmed cases in Kenya since July 2011, said the statement.
Investigation into this outbreak is ongoing. In addition, a case of WPV1 in Banadir, Somalia was confirmed on 9 May 2013, said WHO.
In response to the outbreak, the first vaccination campaign, reaching 440,000 children began on May 14 in Somalia and a second round of vaccination is planned for May 26 in synchronization with the affected parts of Kenya.
The risk to neighbouring countries is deemed as very high, due to large-scale population movements across the Horn of Africa and persistent immunity gaps in some areas, the statement said. Dadaab hosts a major refugee camp, housing nearly 500 000 persons from across the Horn of Africa.
An alert for enhanced surveillance for polio has been issued to all countries across the Horn of Africa, highlighting the need to conduct active searches for any suspected cases. All countries are urged to rapidly identify sub-national surveillance gaps and to take measures to fill the gaps.
WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to and from polio-infected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. - TradeArabia News Service
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