Mozambique health officials declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after confirming that a child in the country’s north-eastern Tete province had contracted the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This follows a report in February of an outbreak in Malawi.
According to WHO:
So far, one case in Mozambique – the country’s first since 1992 – has been detected. The virus was found in a child who began experiencing onset of paralysis in late March. Genomic sequencing analysis indicates that the newly confirmed case is linked to a strain that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year.
“The detection of another case of wild polio virus in Africa is greatly concerning, even if it’s unsurprising given the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it shows how dangerous this virus is and how quickly it can spread,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa. “We are supporting southern African governments to step up the polio fight including carrying out large-scale, effective vaccination campaigns to halt the virus and protect children from its damaging impact.”
Mozambique recently carried out two mass vaccination campaigns – in response to the Malawi outbreak – in which 4.2 million children were vaccinated against the disease.
The case in Mozambique and the earlier one in Malawi do not affect Africa’s wild poliovirus-free certification because the virus strain is not indigenous. Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after eliminating all forms of wild polio from the region.
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