The World Health Organisation announced Thursday that a young kid in Malawi has been infected with wild poliovirus for the first time in more than five years.
Malawian health officials have declared a wild poliovirus type 1 epidemic after a case was discovered in the capital, Lilongwe, according to the WHO.
According to laboratory examination, the identified strain is linked to one that has been circulating in Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
“As an imported case from Pakistan, this detection does not affect the African region’s wild poliovirus-free certification status,” the WHO said.
Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after eliminating all forms of wild polio. No polio cases had occurred on the continent for the past four years — the threshold for eradication.
“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,’’ the WHO’s Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement.
The WHO stated it was assisting Malawi in completing a risk assessment and outbreak response, which included further vaccination.
“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,” According to Dr. Modjirom Ndoutabe, WHO Africa’s polio coordinator.
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