Africa Detects First Polio Case In Five Years

Africa Detects First Polio Case In Five Years

Malawi has declared a polio outbreak, according to the World Health Organization, after a three-year-old girl was diagnosed with the disease.
According to laboratory examination, the strain found in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, is the same as the one circulating in Pakistan, where the disease is still widespread.
“As an imported case from Pakistan, this identification has no bearing on the African region’s wild poliovirus-free certification status,” stated WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.
The WHO, according to Moeti, is taking immediate steps to prevent the spread of polio.
‘We can instantly launch a speedy reaction and safeguard children from the crippling consequences of this disease thanks to a strong level of polio surveillance on the continent and the capacity to promptly detect the virus,’ he said.
On November 19, the Malawian girl began exhibiting paralysis symptoms and stool samples to detect the virus were sent off to labs in South Africa and the US as part of polio surveillance efforts.
Polio was officially eliminated in Africa in 2016, with the last case detected in Nigeria, where vaccination efforts were hampered by Boko Haram jihadists.
Polio is a serious viral infection that used to be common all over the world.
Most sufferers do not have symptoms and are unaware they have the infection.
For up to one in 100 people, the virus causes temporary or permanent paralysis, which can be life-threatening if it affects their breathing muscles.
Polio incidences fell dramatically when routine vaccination was introduced in the mid-1950s, with no cases being caught in the UK since the mid-90s.
Infection rates are still high in some parts of the world.
Of those who develop symptoms, these tend to appear three-to-21 days after infection and include:

  • High temperature
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting

These usually pass within a week, however, in less than one per cent of cases the virus attacks the nerves in the spine and base of the brain, which can lead to paralysis.
People can catch polio via droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes, or if they come into contacted with the faeces of an infected person.
There is no cure for polio.
Treatment focuses on easing symptoms.
In the UK, jabs are available as five separate doses as part of the NHS routine childhood vaccination programme.
Source: NHS Choices

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