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WHO, Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread (July 19 2010, edited)

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  • WHO, Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread (July 19 2010, edited)

    WHO, Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread (July 19 2010, edited)

    [Source: World Health Organization, <cite cite="">WHO | Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread</cite>. Edited.]

    Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread


    As of 19 July the Ministry of Health of Angola has reported 15 cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) since the beginning of 2010, signalling an expansion of an ongoing outbreak. All of these cases have been detected since February in the capital Luanda or in provinces which were previously polio-free (Bie, Bengo, Huambo, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul).

    One genetically-related case was detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in Kasai Occidentale province, which borders Angola), with onset of paralysis on 25 May.

    The country has had a persistent outbreak of poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) since 2007, where 8 cases were reported that year, and 29 cases each in 2008 and 2009.

    Given the persistent and widespread transmission of wild poliovirus, ongoing sub-national surveillance gaps and recent further spread of WPV1 internationally, WHO considers as high the risk of further international spread into neighbouring countries.

    As per recommendations outlined in WHO's International travel and health, travellers to and from Angola should be fully protected by vaccination.


    Angolan Minister of Health Dr José Vieira Dias Van-Dúnem re-affirmed Angola's strong commitment to stop polio transmission by end-2010.

    In 2010, Angola has conducted a sub-national supplementary immunization round using monovalent OPV type 1 (mOPV1) targeting high risk provinces from 7-9 May, a national immunization round from 11-13 June using a combination of trivalent OPV (tOPV) and mOPV1, and mop-up immunization campaigns with mOPV1 in response to WPV1 cases (on 23-25 April in Bie, and on 4-6 June and 18-20 June in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul). Further national immunization rounds are planned for early August and September.

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo conducted mop-ups on 4 June and 18 June with mOPV1, and further outbreak response is currently being planned.


    In 2009 and 2010, immunization coverage has been sub-optimal, with as much as 25% of children regularly missed during supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) Urgent action is needed to ensure that all children in Angola are reached with oral poliovirus vaccine during the SIAs taking place in August and September, through strengthened engagement and ownership of SIA operations by provincial- and district-level political and administrative leadership.

    It is important that countries across central Africa, in particular those bordering Angola, strengthen disease surveillance for AFP, in order to rapidly detect any poliovirus importations and facilitate a rapid response. Countries should also continue to boost routine immunization coverage against polio to minimize the consequences of any introduction.

    For more information

    Global Polio Eradication Initiative


  • #2
    Re: WHO, Polio in Angola – high risk of international spread (July 19 2010, edited)

    Angolan polio outbreak threatens efforts to eliminate disease from Africa, UN warns

    Children being immunized against Polio

    1 October 2010 – A polio immunization campaign targeting 5.6 million children was launched in Angola today as the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the southern African country was quickly becoming the greatest threat to continent-wide eradication efforts.

    Only three African countries have recorded cases of the highly infectious and potentially lethal disease in the past four months – Nigeria, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the latter infected from across the Angolan boarder, WHO spokesman Rod Curtis told reporters in Geneva.

    Areas in Angola that have previously been polio-free have been re-infected this year from an expanding outbreak, he said.

    Over the next three days and again at the end of the month, WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Rotary International will be supporting tens of thousands of volunteers, health workers, parents, communities and traditional leaders as they go from house to house and village to village to ensure that every child under the age of 5 is reached with an oral polio vaccine.

    These campaigns are not only critical to stopping polio in Angola, but also to stopping it in all of Africa, with Angola quickly becoming the greatest threat to eradication on the continent, Mr. Curtis said, stressing the need to close existing immunization gaps from previous campaigns in which up to 30 per cent of children were missed.

    WHO believes the outbreak can be rapidly stopped, even by the end of the year, if these gaps are closed, he added.

    Given the upsurge, now more than ever the key lies in the full mobilization and commitment of all sectors and all stakeholders at all levels, UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said. Particularly important is the engagement by local-level administrative leaders in planning and implementing the campaigns and mobilizing all levels of society to reach every child.

    The whole world is watching this outbreak because the future of a polio-free Africa is at risk, she stressed.

    Other than Nigeria, there has not been any case in West Africa since Mali, on 1 May, and the Horn of Africa became officially polio-free as of July, Mr. Curtis said.

    Outside Africa, polio has been eradicated in most parts of the world, but remains endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Last month WHO said great strides had been made towards eliminating polio in Nigeria, which has seen a 99 per cent drop in cases this year compared to 2009.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela