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Polio Highlight

WHO/ Polio in the Syrian Arab Republic

29 October 2013 - Following reports of a cluster of 22 acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases on 17 October 2013 in the Syrian Arab Republic, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been isolated from ten of the cases under investigation. Final genetic sequencing results are pending to determine the origin of the isolated viruses. Wild poliovirus had not been detected in the Syrian Arab Republic since 1999.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013 15:31

Oversight Board reaffirms unflagging commitment

Statement by heads of agencies of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

On 26 September, the Polio Oversight Board (POB) met with donors and other key stakeholders to review progress against the GPEI’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018, launched earlier this year.

To read more about the POB and the results of the recent meeting please go to

Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 13:54

Polio outbreak response continues in the Horn of Africa

In the Horn of Africa, intensive outbreak response is continuing. The impact of the response is beginning to be seen, as the number of newly-reported cases from Banadir, Somalia (the epicentre of the outbreak) has declined. At the same time, operations are improving as more children are being reached, including in some inaccessible areas of south-central Somalia. The risk this outbreak poses for the entire region was again underscored this week; however, as two further cases from Ethiopia have been confirmed.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:13

WHO update on environmental isolation of poliovirus in Israel

  • WPV1 has been detected in 67 sewage samples from 24 sampling sites in Israel, collected from 3 February 2013 to 4 August 2013. Initially restricted to southern Israel, WPV1 has now also been detected in environmental sampling sites elsewhere in Israel, indicating widespread transmission throughout the country. No case of paralytic polio has been reported.

  • To interrupt WPV1 transmission, a supplementary immunization activity (SIA) with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) targeting children up to the age of nine years was initiated in the southern district of Israel during the week of 5 August; since August 18, the SIA was expanded to the entire country. The objective of the SIA with OPV is to boost intestinal immunity in children vaccinated with IPV only in order to rapidly interrupt wild poliovirus transmission.
  • It is important that all countries, in particular those with frequent travel and contacts with polio-affected countries, strengthen surveillance for cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), in order to rapidly detect any new poliovirus importations and facilitate a rapid response. Countries should also analyze routine immunization coverage data to identify any subnational gaps in population immunity to guide catch-up immunization activities and thereby minimize the consequences of any new virus introduction. Priority should be given to areas at high-risk of importations and where OPV3/DPT3 vaccine coverage is less than 80 percent.
  • WHO recommends that travelers to and from poliovirus-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Three countries remain endemic for indigenous transmission of WPV: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Additionally, in 2013, the Horn of Africa has been affected by an outbreak of WPV1

Read the complete WHO Global Alert and Response (GAR) here: 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 16:25

Update on the Current Horn of Africa Polio Outbreak

Monday, 5th of August 2013    

Background on Outbreak


  • There are currently 105 recorded wild poliovirus (WPV) cases in the Horn of Africa: 95 in Somalia and 10 in Kenya. These are the first laboratory-confirmed cases of wild polio virus since July 2011 in Kenya and March 2007 in Somalia.


  • The first 2013 Somali WPV case had onset of paralysis on 18 April in Mogadishu.
  • Banadir is the epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for more than half of all cases associated with this outbreak (as of 31 July).
  • There have also been reported polio cases in Lower Shabelle, areas of which are inaccessible due to insecurity. Access to families in Lower Shabelle has been compromised for the past three years. As many as 600,000 children in this area are at particular risk for polio.
  • One polio case has been reported in Somaliland. This case is far from the other cases and close to the border with Ethiopia, threatening further spread.


  • The first 2013 Kenyan WPV case had onset of paralysis on 30 April in Dadaab, Kenya.
  • Dadaab, the site of a major refugee camp hosting 500,000 people from across the Horn, is the Kenyan epicenter of the outbreak.


  • As of July 24, twelve vaccination campaigns have been conducted across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen that aimed to reach more than 17 million children and adults.
  • Immunization campaigns across the Horn of Africa, including in Ethiopia and Yemen, will continue throughout 2013.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 16:05
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