Nigeria: Global Epicenter Of Polio Transmission, Records 15 Of 17 Global Cases

NIGERIA is the only country in the world to report any case of wild poliovirus (WPV) in the last 10 days and a Type-3 WPV (WPV3) in the past four months.

The other two polio-endemic countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, unlike Nigeria, have not reported any case in the last 10 days.

According to the latest edition of Weekly Polio Update, published by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), northern Nigeria is now the global epicentre of WPV3 transmission: “Of 17 WPV3 cases reported this year, 15 are from northern Nigeria.”

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The GPEI is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Rotary International, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

Two new cases of Type-1 WPV (WPV1) were reported in the past week from Katsina, bringing the total number of cases for 2012 to 72. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on July 23, 2012, noted GPEI.

Also, due to insecurity, the next Immunisation Plus Days (IPDs) have been postponed by a week, and would now be held from September 23 to 26.

According to the GPEI, insecurity remains a challenge in parts of the country, notably Borno and Yobe States, particularly in their capital cities. Reviews of microplans have been postponed in these capitals as a result. An impact assessment of the situation on polio activities is ongoing.

The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award, disclosed the GPEI, is now open to individuals, or groups of individuals, who work on delivery of vaccines, and who have implemented new ideas that have resulted in tangible improvements in immunisation coverage in developing countries. The deadline for nominations is August 31, 2012. The winning nomination will be recognised with a US$250,000 award.

The GPEI said planning is focusing on further sensitising microplans; scaling up geographic information systems (GIS) technology to accurately monitor vaccination team movements against pre-prepared microplans; further engaging traditional leaders; further integrating new staff capacity built up over past months; and, targeting activities including reaching nomadic populations in 40 local councils in 10 states.

Strategic recommendations by surveillance medical officers (SMOs) from India, who had recently observed activities in Nigeria are being fully integrated into preparations for the next IPDs, noted GPEI.

Also, in response to the recently detected WPV3 case in Taraba (onset of paralysis on July 5), a mop-up is being conducted this weekend in four wards in the vicinity of the affected area. This will be followed by a statewide response over coming weeks.

Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State has pledged full support for response activities.

According to the GPEI, given recent increase in cases in Katsina State (14 this year and eight since May), the possibility of conducting immunisation campaigns across the border in Niger is being explored, to minimise the risk and consequences of spread from Katsina. “Niger will participate in planned, multi-country immunisation campaigns in October and November. Limited activities in border areas, possibly in conjunction with the September IPDs in Nigeria, would further mitigate risk.”

Stated the GPEI, “No new cases were reported in Afghanistan in the past week. The total number of cases for 2012 remains 17. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on July 21 (WPV1 from Kunar).

“No new cases were reported in Pakistan the past week. The total number of cases for 2012 remains 29. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on July 21 (WPV1 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – KP).”

Source: TheGuardian (www.ngrguardiannews.com)

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