Malawi detects polio, first wild case in Africa in over 5 years

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The WHO stated in a statement that laboratory evaluation confirmed the pressure detected in Malawi was linked to 1 that has been circulating in Pakistan, the place it’s nonetheless endemic.

“As an imported case from Pakistan, this detection doesn’t have an effect on the African area’s wild poliovirus-free certification standing,” the WHO stated.

The International Polio Eradication Initiative stated the case within the southern African nation was in a three-year-old lady who skilled the onset of paralysis in November final yr.

Sequencing of the virus performed in February by South Africa’s Nationwide Institute for Communicable Illnesses and the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention confirmed it as sort 1 wild poliovirus (WPV1).

“Detection of WPV1 outdoors the world’s two remaining endemic international locations, Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a severe concern and underscores the significance of prioritizing polio immunization actions,” the International Polio Eradication Initiative stated.

The WHO stated the African continent might launch a speedy response due to a excessive stage of polio surveillance.

“The final case of untamed poliovirus in Africa was recognized in northern Nigeria in 2016 and globally there have been solely 5 instances in 2021.
Any case of untamed poliovirus is a big occasion and we’ll mobilize all sources to assist the nation’s response,” stated Modjirom Ndoutabe, polio coordinator within the WHO’s regional workplace for Africa.

Polio is a extremely infectious illness that invades the nervous system and may trigger complete paralysis inside hours. Whereas there isn’t a remedy for polio, it may be prevented by administration of a vaccine, the WHO stated.

Africa was declared free of untamed poliovirus in August 2020 by the worldwide well being physique following a fruits of many years of effort by regional governments and nonprofits to eradicate the virus from the continent, which had seen an estimated 75,000 youngsters paralyzed yearly.
The WHO had waited 4 years for the reason that final declared case of the wild poliovirus in Nigeria earlier than asserting its eradication in Africa 17 months in the past to make sure that there have been no traces of the virus on the continent, officials told CNN.

Polio eradication efforts in Africa have prevented almost two million youngsters from crippling life-long paralysis and saved round 180,000 lives, the WHO stated.

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