By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The number of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) reported globally so far in 2020 is now 67 as Afghanistan and Pakistan report additional cases this week.

Polio vaccine
Image/Michael Washington, PhD, Health Scientist, NCEZID

In Afghanistan, four additional WPV1 cases were reported: one each Farah and Hirat and two in Hilmand bringing the number of cases reported in 2020 to 16.

In neighboring Pakistan, one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was reported in Balochistan province. The number of cases reported in 2020 stands at 51.

There was exciting news in the third polio endemic country of Nigeria. Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi tweeted: Milestone moment & awesome news for #Nigeria, today June 18, 2020: Attained Polio-Free status, for the first time in our history. Official announcement will come next month, at a planned Health Ministers’ meeting! Well done to @NphcdaNG  & everyone involved in making this happen!

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The World Health Organization in Nigeria also tweeted: Today, Nigeria’s complete documentation for #WildPoliovirus free status was accepted by the Africa Regional Certification Commission for polio eradication (ARCC). It is a historic day for Nigeria, Africa and the Global Polio Programme!

The WHO had already accepted the documentation of 43 African countries, leaving Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and South Sudan remaining.

The last wild poliovirus detection anywhere in Africa was in 2016 (in Nigeria), “in stark contrast to 1996, when wild poliovirus paralyzed more than 75,000 children across every country on the continent,” WHO Africa said. To prove wild polio virus eradication, a region must register no new infections for three years running, demonstrated by intense disease surveillance.