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WHO: Polio Still Poses a High Risk Around The World



WHO: Polio Still Poses a High Risk Around The World

(CTN News) – World Health Organization researchers have concluded that the risk of global spread of the poliovirus remains a public health emergency of international concern.

While there is a risk of global spread of wild polioviruses, the risk of circulating vaccine-derived strains is much higher.

WHO has recommended a number of measures, such as declaring poliovirus transmission a national public health emergency and ensuring that travellers and residents are vaccinated.

According to the International Health Regulations, 2005, the WHO director-general convened the 34th emergency committee meeting on January 25, 2023 to discuss the international spread of poliovirus.

By the end of 2023, the panel is expected to have reviewed the data about wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV2) in order to achieve the global target of eradicating WPV and ceasing cVDPV2 outbreaks.

Afghanistan, Botswana, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan and Zambia were examined.

Climate-related disasters, including both floods and droughts, have been reported in several countries, causing vulnerability to various disease outbreaks, including polio.

Conflicts in several countries affected by polio have also posed significant challenges to the programs.

Wild poliovirus cases increased in 2022, illustrating the fragility of the fight against the highly contagious disease. This is according to a commentary published in the BMJ Global Health journal in December.

WHO reports that despite the ongoing decline in cVDPV2 cases and the number of lineages circulating, the risk of the virus spreading internationally remains high.

The high transmission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has spread to southern Africa (Zambia and Botswana). There has also been a spread from Chad to Sudan as well as from Yemen to Djibouti and Somalia.

A high concentration of children with zero doses and population displacement could contribute to the risk of cVDPV outbreaks. It has been most evident in northern Yemen, northern Nigeria, south-central Somalia, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is expected that the successful introduction of cVDPV2 and the reintroduction of trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) will mitigate the risk of the virus spreading internationally.

There are only three genetic clusters of WPV1 left in the world – one in Pakistan, one in Afghanistan, and one in Africa. The last confirmed WPV1 case in Pakistan was on September 15, 2022, and the last one in Afghanistan was on August 29, 2022.

In Africa, there have been four cases of WPV1 confirmed in Mozambique, the latest of which was found on August 10 2022 in the province of Tête. After a single index case was reported in November 2021, no further cases have been reported in Malawi.


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