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Polio Highlight

Vaccination Week in the Americas, 26 April – 3 May 2014

The 12th celebration of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) will take place from 26 April - 3 May 2014 with the regional slogan: “Vaccination: Your best shot.” This slogan was chosen to encourage people to protect themselves and the Region against the importation of polio, measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases, in the context of the mass sports gathering, where people from all over the world will come to our Region.

VWA is an extraordinary effort led by the countries and territories of the Region to advance equity and access to vaccination. VWA activities strengthen the national immunization programs in the Americas by reaching out to populations with little access to regular health services, such as those populations living in urban fringes, rural and border areas and in indigenous communities. Since its inception in 2003, more than 465 million individuals of all ages have been vaccinated during campaigns conducted under the framework of the initiative.

 VWA also provides a highly visible platform to raise population awareness regarding the importance of immunization and to keep the topic on the forefront of political agendas. To learn more about VWA, please visit Vaccination Week in the Americas.


New polio cases in Equatorial Guinea and Iraq

In Equatorial Guinea, one new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was officially reported, the first in the country since 1999. Iraq notified a WPV1 case, the first in the country since 2000.

Equatorial Guinea
In Equatorial Guinea, one new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was officially reported two weeks ago, the first in the country since 1999.  The case is from Centro Sur province, close to the border with Cameroon, and had onset of paralysis on 28 January 2014.  A second case with links to Equatorial Guinea has also been detected, with onset of paralysis on 31 January.  The child had lived in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, but was diagnosed in Yaoundé, Cameroon.  Genetic sequencing confirms these cases are related to WPV1 circulating in Cameroon.  This week, we elevated the assessed level of risk of international spread of polio from Cameroon to ‘very high’ (
Outbreak response in Equatorial Guinea  is currently being planned, including National Immunization Days (NIDs) with bivalent OPV on 11 April 2014.  Outbreak response in Cameroon is being intensified, focusing on urgently improving operations and strengthening surveillance so that the full extent of the outbreak can be determined and tracked.
At the same time, immunity levels and surveillance sensitivity are being assessed in neighbouring countries, in particular in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.  The Republic of Congo was affected by one of the deadliest polio outbreak in recent years in 2010 and 2011, which had resulted in 442 cases including more than 200 deaths (70% among young adults), and which had also spread to Gabon.  Additional immunization activities are being planned in these neighbouring countries.
In Iraq, it was received a notification of a WPV1 case, the first in the country since 2000.  The case, a six-month old boy from Baghdad who had not been immunized, developed onset of paralysis on 10 February 2014.  Genetic sequencing indicates the isolated virus is linked to WPV1 circulating in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.  A Disease Outbreak News notification has been published at the following link:
Iraq has been part of the regional Middle East emergency outbreak response, ever since confirmation of polio in the region was received in October 2013.  The next campaigns in the country are planned for 6-10 April.  A surveillance alert remains in place for the region to actively search for additional potential cases in addition to implementing the recommended SIAs with OPV.  The risk of further international spread across the region remains high.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 08:34

WHO South-East Asia Region (SEARO) Certified Polio-free

 27 March 2014 - WHO South-East Asia Region, home to a quarter of the world’s population, was certified polio-free today by an independent commission under the WHO certification process.

This is the fourth of six WHO Regions to be certified (The Region of the Americas was certified in 1994), marking an important step towards global polio eradication. With this step, 80% of the world’s population now lives in certified polio-free regions.

Adapted from: WHO

SEARO/WHO press release: 

353 2013 AFP cases are pending classification

PAHO urges countries to classify their 2013 AFP cases.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 15:52

India three years polio-free

Wild poliovirus has not been found in India since 13 January 2011 meaning that, from that date, India is no longer a country where polio is endemic. Three years of being polio free is a notable milestone for the country as a whole, but the success of the immunization and awareness campaign has had a wider impact – with this achievement, it is hoped that soon the entire South-East Asia Region can be considered certifiably free from polio. A commission of experts will meet at the World Health Organization offices at the end of March to analyze the data and determine the polio status for the Region.

Historically, India has been the largest endemic reservoir of polio in the world with between 50 000 to 100 000 paralytic polio cases occurring each year between 1978 and 1995. It has also been one of the main sources of polio importation for other countries. This achievement has been driven by the partnership between the Government of India, international organizations, local NGOs and other institutions. An extraordinary mobilization of health workers was necessary to reach this point, particularly in the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states. The outcome of this has been an improved vaccine delivery system, better trained health staff and high quality surveillance, monitoring and research mechanisms.

This does not mean that the virus cannot reemerge within any of the countries or the Region. There is no room for complacency with ongoing polio vaccination work. High immunity levels must continue in order to protect those in the Region and as newer, more comprehensive interventions are developed, these too need to be rolled out. Furthermore, whilst no new cases of wild polio have been recorded recently, the disease in different forms can be brought in to the Region via those who have contracted it in other parts of the world and then travel to South-East Asia.


Original article:  


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