Published On: Sat, Jan 4th, 2014

Polio 2013: by the numbers

Polio has been a story of highs and lows in 2013. Let’s see what the numbers tell us.

Somali girl receiving oral polio vaccine (OPV) Image/UNICEF Video Screen Shot

Somali girl receiving oral polio vaccine (OPV)
Image/UNICEF Video Screen Shot

Unlike 2012, which 21 wild poliovirus 3 (WPV 3) cases and one case of W1W3, in 2013, all cases were wild poliovirus 1 (WPV 1).

The total cases reported in 2013 was 369. This compares to the 2012 total of 218. This is an increase of 151 cases or 59 percent.

Eight countries have recorded cases in 2013: Somalia (183), Nigeria (51), Pakistan (83), Kenya (14), Afghanistan (11), Ethiopia (6), Syria (17) and Cameroon (4).

In 2012, five countries reported polio–Pakistan (58), Afghanistan (35). Nigeria (119), Chad (5) and Niger (1).

Much of the increase is due to the Horn of Africa outbreak, which accounted for 203 cases (183 from Somalia, 14 from Kenya and six from Ethiopia).

For Somalia, it was their first case of wild poliovirus since 2007. In Kenya, it was the first case since 2011 and for Ethiopia, the first case since 2008.

The Horn of Africa outbreak is on the decline, including in Banadir, Somalia, the “engine” of the outbreak (no cases since July)., according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Of the three remaining  polio endemic countries, only Pakistan increased in number of cases (+25) or ~30 percent decrease.

Afghanistan saw a decrease in cases from 2012 to 2013 (-24) or ~69 percent decline. In addition, Afghanistan saw no indigenous cases of wild poliovirus  all year – all cases are linked to cross-border transmission with neighboring Pakistan.

Nigeria also saw a decrease in cases from 2012 to 2013 (-58) or ~57 percent decrease.

Other good news from Nigeria is that poliovirus is increasingly geographically restricted – primarily to Kanod and Borno states. Over the past 4 months, only four cases have occurred in the country, despite the onset of the rainy season (the”high season” for polio transmission), reports the GPEI.

And finally, Syria reported 17 polio cases. The last WPV case was reported in 1999 prior to this outbreak.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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