6 May 2014

Nigeria Infected but Not Exporting Polio Virus - WHO

Nigeria has been listed by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as one of the countries infected with polio virus, but does not export the disease to the rest of the world.

This is contained in a statement issued by Christy Feig, Director of Communications of the WHO.

Others countries infected with polio virus but do not export the disease include Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia.

Ms. Feig said the international spread of the disease poses a risk for new wild poliovirus exportation in 2014.

Ms. Feig listed states currently exporting wild polio virus to include; Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syrian Arab Republic and said this poses a greater risk of further spread of wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.

Ms. Feig called on countries to declare the stoppage of polio virus transmission a national public health emergency.

She also called on countries to encourage residents and long-term visitors to receive a dose of OPV or IPV, four weeks to 12 months prior to international travel, especially those undertaking urgent travels.

Ms. Feig said that 60 per cent of polio cases were due to international spread of wild polio virus, and that there was increasing evidence that adult travellers contribute to the spread.

The WHO official also said that the international spread of polio constituted an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other countries for which a coordinated international response was necessary.

"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop this international spread of wild polio virus, and to prevent new spread with the onset of the high transmission season in May and June 2014.

"Unilateral measures may prove less effective in stopping international spread than a coordinated response," she said.


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