Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Polio Case in Darfur Sparks Fears of Epidemic in West and Central Africa

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Polio Case in Darfur Sparks Fears of Epidemic in West and Central Africa

Article excerpt

West and central Africa are on the verge of the largest polio epidemic in recent years, warned experts from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The warning followed a confirmation on 22 June that a child was paralysed on 20 May by polio in the Darfur region of the Republic of Sudan, a country which has not seen the disease for more than three years.

"There is no question that the virus is spreading at an alarming pace," said Dr David Heymann, WHO Representative for Polio Eradication. "The fact that the Sudan is now re-infected is concrete evidence of the need to support a massive immunization response right across west and central Africa."

Epidemiologists said that the polio-virus in the Sudan shares close genetic links to the virus in northern Nigeria, which has spread through Chad in recent months. According to Heymann, the re-infection of the Sudan represents the latest setback to progress made towards achieving polio eradication in Africa.

"At the beginning of 2003, only two countries in sub-Saharan Africa were polio-endemic. Today, however, Africa accounts for nearly 90% of the global polio burden, with children now paralysed in ten previously polio-free countries across the continent," said Heymann.

Children in west and central African countries will be particularly vulnerable during the polio "high season" this autumn when experts fear a major epidemic. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.