Polio Virus grips Africa again, cases detected in Mozambique & Malawi

The case detected in Mozambique is the country?s first since 1992. The child who was infected began experiencing paralysis in late March. The genomic sequencing linked the strain to the on that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019. It was like the case reported in Malawi this year.

Polio Virus grips Africa again, cases detected in Mozambique & Malawi
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News 24

New Delhi: Poliovirus type 1 outbreak has been declared in Mozambique on May 18. This happened after a child in the country’ north-eastern Tete Province had contracted the disease. This led to the recognition of second polio case in Africa this year. This is followed by an outbreak in Malawi in February.


The case detected in Mozambique is the country’s first since 1992. The child who was infected began experiencing paralysis in late March. The genomic sequencing linked the strain to the on that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019. It was like the case reported in Malawi this year. 


However, the case reported in Mozambique and Malawi are not impacting the Africa’s wild-poliovirus certification as the strain is not indigenous. It must be noted that Africa had already been declared free of indigenous wild polio virus. 


Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa said that, “The detection of another case of wild polio virus in Africa is greatly concerning, even if it’s unsurprising given the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it shows how dangerous this virus is and how quickly it can spread. We are supporting southern African governments to step up the polio fight including carrying out large-scale, effective vaccination campaigns to halt the virus and protect children from its damaging impact.”

 

Investigations are underway in Mozambique to determine the targeted response that is needed. Three people who were rounded up who came in contact with the patient. However, they all reported negative for the wild poliovirus type 1. 


Two recent vaccine campaign in Mozambique were implemented in to counter the outbreak in Malawi. The campaign ended with the inoculation of around 4.2 million children against the disease. Efforts are being made to help strengthen the disease surveillance system in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The aim of these vaccination drive aims at the inoculation of 23 million children aged 5 years or less in the coming weeks. 

 

On a global level, the eradication of the wild polio virus is only achieved in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Polio affects children aged 5 year or less and is highly infectious. There is no cure for polio yet. Children throughout the world are still at risk of getting infected if the virus is not eradicated from the face of the earth.

 

In 2020, a significant milestone is expected for polio eradication and global health: the certification of the WHO African region as free wild poliovirus (WPV). This certification is now turning out to be futile.
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