Polio outbreak in Malawi | ABC News

Infections have been detected in young children in the capital city of Lilongwe, the World Health Organization announced in one pers conference.

Polio was declared extinct in Africa in August 2020. The last case of infection with the wild virus was registered in northern Nigeria in 2016.

“Every case of wild poliovirus is important, and we will mobilize all resources to support the country’s response,” said Dr. Modjirom Ndoutabe, polio coordinator for WHO’s Africa Office.

The fact that Africa is declared polio-free does not mean that the disease has been completely eradicated. Outbreaks have emerged in a number of countries as a result of so-called vaccine-based poliovirus – a rarely mutated form of the attenuated poliovirus found in the polio vaccine.

That would previously have crippled the poliovirus of about 75,000 children each year on the African continent. The polio virus is highly contagious, and the infection is also transmitted through water.

There is no cure for this disease, but it can be avoided by vaccination.

Analysis suggests that the cases in Malawi could be linked to the virus that has been circulating in Pakistan’s Sindh province, one of only two countries where the virus is still present. Since the case was imported, Africa’s status as a polio-free region has not been affected, according to the WHO.

Only in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the virus endemic. There, the fight against the virus has been engulfed in conspiracy theories and attacks on health workers who have worked with the vaccination program.

Julia Craig

"Certified bacon geek. Evil social media fanatic. Music practitioner. Communicator."

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