Mozambique health authorities declared a polio epidemic on Wednesday after establishing that the disease has paralysed a kid in the country’s northern Tete province.
Following a case detected in Malawi in mid-February, the case in Mozambique is the second imported case of polio in southern Africa this year. Although cases attributable to a modified virus from the oral vaccine were found in 2019, this is the first incidence of wild polio in Mozambique since 1992.
According to a World Health Organization release, the latest incidence in Mozambique was discovered in a kid who showed signs of paralysis in late March.
The case in Mozambique, like the one reported in Malawi earlier this year, appears to be connected to a strain of polio spreading in Pakistan in 2019.
Even though multiple nations throughout the continent have reported outbreaks attributable to the vaccine in recent years, the WHO proclaimed Africa free of the wild polio virus in August 2020. There is no distinction between the disease caused by the natural virus and the vaccine’s modified virus.
“The discovery of yet another case of wild poliovirus in Africa is deeply troubling, even though it comes as little surprise considering the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it demonstrates how serious the virus is and how quickly it can spread,” said World Health Organization Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti.
In response to the outbreak in neighbouring Malawi, Mozambique recently conducted two mass vaccination campaigns, resulting in the vaccination of 4.2 million children, according to WHO.
In five nations, disease surveillance is being improved: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the following weeks, vaccine campaigns are expected to reach 23 million youngsters aged five and under.
Polio is a highly contagious disease that is transferred primarily through water and primarily affects children under the age of five. Polio has no cure and can only be prevented through vaccination. Since 1988, WHO and its partners have attempted to eradicate polio worldwide, but have missed multiple deadlines.