Democratic Republic of the Congo: Polio outbreak Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRCD025

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

In early February 2018, suspected cases of poliomyelitis were registered in some parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This prompted laboratory tests at the Institut National de la Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa, the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in South Africa, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. All three laboratories confirmed the presence of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the DRC.

In conformity with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its 2005 International Health Regulations, the Minister of Public Health of the DRC declared cVDPV2 as a national public health emergency on 13 February 2018.

On 26 November 2015, the Africa Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCCPE) had declared in Madagascar that the DRC was free of wild poliovirus (WPV). This decision was based on the fact that the country had gone for about 4 years with no case notified. The last case of WPV was notified on 20 December 2011 in Lusangi health zone (Maniema province).

However, on 13 February 2018, the Minister of Public Health declared that 21 cases of cVDPV2 had been registered in provinces where surveillance and coverage indicators have always remained low as compared to national averages.

Those provinces, which are mostly affected by the current outbreak, include Haut-Lomami, Maniema and Tanganyika provinces. The following table summarizes the number of cases registered in each province: