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Ukraine: 2021 Polio

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  • Ukraine: 2021 Polio


    Polio case confirmed in toddler from Rivne Oblast, Ukraine
    by News Desk
    October 7, 2021

    In Ukraine, a case of polio was recorded and confirmed in a 1.5-year-old child from Rivne Oblast. The disease is caused by a derivative of the vaccine strain of polioviruses type 2 (circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (Sabin 2), according to the Ministry of Health. The parents deliberately refused medical vaccinations because of their religious beliefs...

  • #2

    Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) – Ukraine

    22 October 2021

    On 2 October 2021, WHO was notified of the isolation of poliovirus in the samples from an acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case in Ukraine. The individual is a 17-month old female who had onset of paralysis on 3 September. Poliovirus type 2 was confirmed on 1 October by the Regional Reference Lab (RRL) in Helsinki, Finland, and further genetic sequencing at RRL confirmed vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) on 6 October. The same virus has also been isolated from six healthy siblings of the case. The family is from Rivne province, in the northwest of Ukraine.
    Genetic sequencing indicates the virus is closely linked with an environmental isolate in Tajikistan. Local authorities, along with WHO regional and country teams, are conducting further investigations to determine the source of the infection, and to ascertain any potential risk of further spread. Therefore, the current outbreak was classified as circulating VDPV2 (cVDPV2).
    Previously, an outbreak of circulating VDPV type 1 (cVDPV1) was reported in Ukraine in 2015, resulting in two cases. The last reported VDPV was classified as VDPV2 in Ukraine’s Odesa province in 2016. The virus isolated from the current reported case in Rivne is not related to the 2015 outbreak or 2016 isolates.
    The national immunization coverage with three doses of polio vaccine (POL3) in Ukraine was 83% in 2020.

    Public health response

    The Ministry of Health led multi-disciplinary emergency task force has been established to coordinate the public health response. Partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), including WHO, are providing support to authorities at national and subnational levels. This support includes outbreak investigation, intensified surveillance, and raising public awareness.
    Supplemental vaccination of all young children in the affected area is planned to ensure catch-up for any eligible children who may have missed routine polio vaccination and ensure that all are protected from the disease.

    WHO risk assessment

    The risk of national spread is assessed as high due to historically low immunization coverage rates in Ukraine and the existing subnational vaccination gaps. Although AFP surveillance is sensitive enough to detect paralytic cases, poliovirus transmission may continue undetected.
    The risk of international spread of this virus is currently assessed as low due to the relatively high immunization coverage and sanitary infrastructure in neighboring countries, particularly Belarus, Hungary, and Slovakia. However, the European Regional Commission for Certification of Polio Eradication expressed concern about the quality of polio surveillance and suboptimal vaccination coverage in Poland and Romania.

    WHO advice

    It is important that all countries, particularly those with frequent travel and contacts with polio-affected countries and areas, strengthen the surveillance of AFP cases in order to rapidly detect any new poliovirus importations and to facilitate a rapid response. Countries, territories, and areas should also maintain systematically high routine immunization coverage rates at subnational levels to minimize the consequences of any new poliovirus introduction.
    WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travelers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Residents (and visitors for more than 4 weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) within four weeks to 12 months of travel.
    Countries affected by poliovirus circulation are subject to temporary recommendations issued by the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulations on Polioviruses, due to the declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The latest report by the Committee is from August 2021.


    • #3

      Ukraine vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 outbreak - Situation Report #7 (19 November 2021)

      Format News and Press Release
      Source GPEI
      25 Nov 2021
      Originally published
      19 Nov 2021


      On 6 October 2021 a cVDPV2 outbreak was confirmed in Ukraine. As of 18 November 2021, testing for cVDPV2 in specimens collected among contacts of the index case has been completed. A total of 18 individuals resident in two oblasts (Rivne and Zakarpattya) had positive isolation of cVDPV2 in stool specimens; all specimens closely related. In Rivne province, cVDPV2 was isolated in the index AFP case, 7 household contacts (siblings) and 6 community contacts (schoolmates). In Zakarpattia province cVDPV2 was isolated in samples from 4 children (cousins with had had contact with the siblings of the AFP case). Genetic sequencing has demonstrated that the cVDPV2 is linked with the PAK-GB-1 emergence and the closest match was to an environmental sample from Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

      The cVDPV2 outbreak has been declared as a public health emergency in Rivne and Zakarpattya. WHO has internally graded the outbreak as level 2.

      GPEI experts worked with experts from the Ukraine Public Health Center (UPHC) in the development of a unified strategy to respond to the outbreak. The roadmap was presented to the VPI Task Force under facilitated by the Deputy Minister of Health on November 17. The following decisions were reached during the meeting...