Nigeria, Pakistan, others risk polio re-infection

The World Health Organisation (WHO), yesterday, warned that Nigeria and other nations earlier given a clean bill of health risk being re-infected due to recent global spread of Wild Polio Virus Type 1 (WPV1) and Circulating Vaccine-derived Polio Virus (cVDPV).

According to Buzzupdate News The Emergency Committee on International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, which raised the fresh fear yesterday in a statement, also warned of the effects of COVID-19 on routine immunisation and possible disruptions to supply and delivery of vaccines. It urged that polio programmes must adjust responses to meet the demands of the time.

The panel warned that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of temporary recommendations for more three months.

The committee said it recognised the concerns surrounding the lengthy duration of the polio PHEIC, but concluded that the current situation remained risky.

It also acknowledged the capacity of the pandemic to undo polio surveillance and immunisation, with the gradual withdrawal of polio funds from some of the affected nations.

For affirmation, the body reviewed WPV1 and cVDPV data at a video conference on the current situation in Afghanistan, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda.

According to the committee, WPV1 transmission has continued to fall, with no new case since January 2021 when two cases occurred, one each in Pakistan and Afghanistan, compared to the 94 incidents in the corresponding period of 2020.

Similarly, the overall proportion of positive specimens reduced from almost 60 per cent in 2020 to less than 15 per cent in 2021, with no detection in Afghanistan since February 23 and only 10 isolated in Pakistan since March 31. The most recent detections this year in Afghanistan were importation from Pakistan.

On cVDPV this year, the panel put infections at 170 as against the 1069 tally of 2020.

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