The National Department of Health of Papua New Guinea announced this week that three additional polio cases have been confirmed in Morobe, Madang and Enga provinces.

Papua New Guinea Image/CDC
Papua New Guinea

The case from Morobe is a four-year-old girl from Markham District. Her paralysis, including muscle pain and weakness in her right leg, started on 16 July 2018. The girl has no record of receiving polio vaccine and no history of travelling outside of the province.

A case in Madang District is a 22-month-old boy who had an onset of weakness in both legs on 15 July 2018. The boy has no record of polio vaccination and no history of travel.

The case from Enga is a nine-year-old boy from Wabag District. His paralysis, including weakness in his right arm and both legs, started on 2 August 2018. The boy’s polio vaccination history is unknown and he has travelled within the province. To date, this case is the oldest child confirmed with polio.

To date, Papua New Guinea has confirmed a total of nine polio cases since the announcement of the outbreak in June 2018: three in Morobe, two in Eastern Highlands, two in Enga and two in Madang.

The Government of Papua New Guinea declared a Public Health Emergency on 26 June 2018 after confirmation that poliovirus is circulating in the country. A polio vaccination campaign is currently ongoing to vaccinate children under five years old in high risk provinces of Morobe, Madang, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Chimbu, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Hela. Vaccination teams are intensifying efforts particularly in densely populated areas such as settlements, mining communities and areas where there is significant movement of people to ensure that all children are vaccinated and protected against polio.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their children under 5 to be vaccinated each time there is a campaign in their local area and to also help spread the word to others in the community.

Nationwide polio vaccination campaigns are planned for October and November.