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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
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