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Poliomyelitis - Multistate (world) - Monitoring global outbreaks (ECDC/CDTR, February 4 2013): Polio workers attacked in Pakistan

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  • Poliomyelitis - Multistate (world) - Monitoring global outbreaks (ECDC/CDTR, February 4 2013): Polio workers attacked in Pakistan

    [Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), full PDF document: (LINK). Edited.]


    Week 5, 27 January-2 February 2013


    Poliomyelitis - Multistate (world) - Monitoring global outbreaks

    Opening date: 8 September 2005 Latest update: 31 January 2013

    Epidemiological summary

    During the past week no new polio cases were reported to WHO. So far there have been no cases reported with onset of disease in 2013, compared with four for the same period in 2012.

    Attacks on polio workers in Pakistan continue with two of them killed by a landmine in the Kurram tribal region of north-west Pakistan on 31 January 2013. A policeman who was accompanying two polio vaccination workers in the same region was also shot dead during the past week. At least 11 polio workers have now been killed in Pakistan in the past month.


    ECDC assessment

    Although the Global Polio Eradication Initiative missed its end-2012 milestone of stopping all wild poliovirus transmission globally, the programme brought the world very close to eradicating polio as 2012 ended, with the fewest wild polio cases ever reported.

    Two hundred and twenty-two wild polio cases were reported in 2012 ? a reduction of over 60% compared with 2011.

    However, there are profound concerns about the polio situation for 2013, especially due to difficulties in the implementation of the immunisation programme in Pakistan.

    The programme has been severely affected by the recent attacks that have killed several polio vaccination campaign workers in Pakistan.

    This may well have an effect on neighbouring Afghanistan, which, together with Pakistan and Nigeria, is one of the three remaining polio-endemic countries in the world.

    Other neighbouring countries, such as China where a polio outbreak in 2011 was imported from Pakistan, will be equally at risk.

    The discovery last week of the wild polio virus strain in Egypt linked to Pakistan gives cause for further unease.

    The WHO European Region so far remains polio-free.

    ECDC follows reports on polio cases worldwide through epidemic intelligence in order to highlight polio eradication efforts and identify events that increase the risk of re-introduction of wild poliovirus (WPV) into the EU.

    The last polio cases in the European Union occurred in 2001 when three young Bulgarian children of Roma ethnicity developed flaccid paralysis from WPV. Investigations showed that the virus originated from India.

    The latest outbreak in the WHO European Region was in Tajikistan in 2010 when WPV1 imported from Pakistan caused an outbreak of 460 reported cases. The last indigenous WPV case in Europe was in Turkey in 1998.

    An outbreak in the Netherlands in a religious community opposed to vaccinations caused two deaths and 71 cases of paralysis in 1992.