The World Health Organization (WHO) report that the Ministère de la Santé Publique declared an outbreak of circulating poliovirus type 2 (CVDPV 2) today after confirming eight polioviruses, the first such detection in more than three decades.
The cases were confirmed in a four-year-old child in Isale district in western Burundi who had not received any polio vaccination, as well as in two other children who were contacts of the four-year-old boy. Additionally, five samples from environmental surveillance of wastewater confirmed the presence of the circulating poliovirus type 2.
“The detection of the circulating poliovirus type 2 shows the effectiveness of the country’s disease surveillance. Polio is highly infectious and timely action is critical in protecting children through effective vaccination,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “We are supporting the national efforts to ramp up polio vaccination to ensure that no child is missed and faces no risk of polio’s debilitating impact.”
The Burundian government—which has declared the detection of the virus a national public health emergency—plans to implement a vaccination campaign to combat polio in the coming weeks, aiming at protecting all eligible children (aged 0‒7 years old) against the virus.
Circulating poliovirus type 2 is the most prevalent form of polio in Africa and outbreaks of this type of poliovirus are the highest reported in the region, with more than 400 cases reported in 14 countries in 2022. Circulating poliovirus type 2 infection can occur when the weakened strain of the virus contained in the oral polio vaccine circulates among under-immunized populations for long periods.
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