In central Africa, a new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was reported in Equatorial Guinea. In total, three cases have now been reported from the country; genetic sequencing indicates the cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon. Outbreak response in the country is currently being planned.
First mass vaccination campaigns started in the Middle East since a polio case was reported in Iraq. Polio vaccination campaigns commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt on 6 April and Turkey on 7 April, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over five days. For Iraq, this is the first nationwide vaccination campaign since a case of polio in a six-month-old boy from northern Baghdad was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on 30 March.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has met in Geneva on 1-3 April to discuss measures to prevent further international spread of polio, progress in eliminating wild and vaccine derived poliovirus and the status of the preparation for global OPV2 withdrawal. Final recommendations will be published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record.
World’s most populous region certified polio-free: the WHO South East Asia Region was certified polio-free at a ceremony in India this week, meaning that transmission of wild poliovirus has been interrupted in this bloc of 11 countries stretching from Indonesia to India. This achievement marks a significant leap forward in global eradication, with 80% of the world’s population now living in certified polio-free regions.
In Cameroon, two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases are reported this week, from 2014. The new cases confirm continued transmission of this strain and geographic expansion of infected areas following detection of four cases in October.
Newsweek Pakistan published an in-depth interview with Dr Hamid Jafari, WHO, about the current situation of polio eradication in Pakistan. The interview can be accessed here.
Meningococcal disease in Sudan: Trend is declining
For the last couple of years, the trend of meningococcal diseases in Sudan is visibly on the decline. Last year, a total of 1,110 suspected cases of meningococcal disease including 49 deaths were reported from Sudan. There was no localized outbreak from meningococcal disease reported from the country last year.