Mozambique detects first case of polio in 30 years
By Hauwa Ali
Southern African country, Mozambique, has detected its first case of polio after 30 years of being declared polio-free.
The case is the second imported case of polio in southern Africa this year, following the first case discovered in Malawi in mid-February.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), announced on Wednesday, that the case was diagnosed in a child in the northeastern province of Tete who had experienced signs of paralysis in late March, according to a statement.
“The detection of another case of wild poliovirus in Africa is greatly concerning, even if it’s unsurprising given the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it shows how dangerous this virus is and how quickly it can spread,” WHO Africa Head, Matshidiso Moeti said.
Analysis indicates that the newly confirmed case is linked to a strain that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019, and it is also similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year, WHO noted.
Since the detection in Malawi, Southern African countries have launched a vaccination campaign with Mozambique immunizing 4.2million children against the virus, while others are still brazing up with vaccination.
Polio is transmitted mainly via contaminated water and food, or through contact form an infected person. The virus can cause paralysis, which is sometimes fatal
The UN has announced its support to step up government’s effort to fight the polio virus.
“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.” UN said in a statement.
According to WHO, investigation is underway in Mozambique to determine the extent of the risk posed by the new wild poliovirus case and the targeted responses needed.
WHO also assured that efforts are currently underway to help strengthen disease surveillance in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe; adding that, all those countries will continue with mass vaccinations, with plans to reach 23 million children aged five, and below, with the polio vaccine in the weeks ahead.