Mozambique declares polio outbreak

APA-Maputo (Mozambique)

Mozambique health authorities have declared a polio outbreak after the virus was detected in a child in the north-eastern Tete province.

Mozambique’s first case since 1992, the virus was found in a child who began experiencing onset of paralysis in late March, according to the country’s health authorities.  

Genomic sequencing analysis indicated that the newly confirmed case was linked to a strain that had been circulating in Pakistan since 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year.

This marks the second imported case of wild poliovirus in southern Africa this year, following an outbreak in Malawi in mid-February.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, said the two cases “do not affect Africa’s wild poliovirus-free certification because the virus strain is not indigenous.” 

“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,” WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said. 

Efforts are currently underway to help strengthen disease surveillance in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

The five countries will continue with mass vaccinations, with plans to reach 23 million children aged five years and below with the polio vaccine in the coming weeks.

Polio is highly infectious and largely affects children younger than five years. There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by immunisation. 


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