Resurgence of poliovirus feared in Africa



By Ismail Auwal

Shortly after UN certified Africa poliovirus free, its comeback had been confirmed in Chad.

It will be recalled that, three months ago, the UN certified Africa poliovirus-free.

Dozens of cases are now reported in Chad Republic.

However, the World Health Organization consoled on Friday that, the infections were vaccine-derived strain, being a form of illness which occurred in rare incidents when the weakened virus in the vaccine mutated.

The Chad’s health ministry spokesperson on vaccination programmes, Abdramane Adji, was quoted as saying, “This is no longer the poliovirus in the wild but a virus derived from the vaccine strain,”

Representative of the World Health Organization, Jean-Bosco Ndihokubwayo further says, “Ninety cases of the poliovirus derived from a vaccine strain have been reported in Chad” since September 2019.

Adding, that, the outbreak “only affects children who have not been vaccinated.”

He then emphasizes that, the safety of the vaccine itself was not the issue, pointing out that, “The reported cases arose where the vaccination programme was inadequate and had left children who did not get the vaccine vulnerable to contagion from faecal matter and contaminated food.”

The WHO and Chad’s government have confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic had affected access to polio vaccinations by many children.

On Friday the UN agency and Chad Kickstarted two successive polio vaccination campaigns in areas with irregular health cover, to reach some three million children in the 1-5 years age bracket.

Poliomyelitis is a disease that can attack the central nervous system and lead, in the most severe cases, to irreversible paralysis.

It was pandemic all over the world before a vaccine was developed in the 1950s.

Related articles

Recent articles