A child has been paralyzed in Mozambique’s northeastern Tete province. And the health authorities have confirmed it to be due to polio virus, thus declaring polio outbreak in the African country.
Second imported case of polio this year
The authorities have confirmed that this polio case is the second imported case of virus in southern Africa this year alone. The first case of polio was discovered in mid-February in Malawi.
This case in Mozambique is the first case of ‘wild polio’ since 1992. The latest polio case has been found in a child experiencing signs of paralysis during late March, said WHO (World Health Organisation).
New case linked to Pakistan
After conducting genomic sequencing, it was discovered to be linked to a polio strain that was predominantly spreading in Pakistan in 2019. The Malawi’s case discovered earlier this year too was linked to the polio strain in Pakistan.
“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,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the director of World Health Organization in Africa.
Mass vaccination campaign was carried out following Malawi case
After the Malawi case of polio was confirmed, neighbouring Mozambique had carried out two rounds of mass vaccination campaigns, vaccinating about 4.2 million children against the polio virus. This was despite Africa was declared free of wild polio in 2020 even though few cases of polio were detected linked to the vaccine.
Plan of action
WHO has noted that disease surveillance is being bolstered in five countries – Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Furthermore, vaccination campaigns have been planned for coming weeks with goal to vaccinate 23 million children of five years and below age.