Published On: Fri, Sep 6th, 2013

Somalia polio outbreak climbs to 160 cases

The  Global Polio Eradication Initiative is reporting 32 new wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) cases during the past week, in Somalia, bringing the total case count in this outbreak to 160.

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield

In addition, this brings the total cases reported on the Horn of Africa to 174 (Kenya-13, Ethiopia-1).

The polio outbreak in Somalia began with its first case in April. These are the first wild poliovirus cases reported in Somalia since 2007.

After a assessment by The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), they concluded that the outbreak in both Somalia and Kenya will extend beyond six months, due to large numbers of under vaccinated children in Somalia and inconsistent campaign quality in Kenya.

The GPEI also notes:

Even though the outbreak will likely persist beyond 6 months, there are indications that the response activities to date are having an impact: fewer cases are being reported in the area considered the ‘engine’ of the outbreak – the Banadir region of Somalia, which includes Mogadishu. Following intense outbreak response activities, including vaccination of all age groups and heightened disease surveillance, cases appear to have peaked in Banadir.

In addition to the Horn of Africa outbreak, two of the three polio endemic countries reported new polio cases in the past week.

Both Pakistan and Nigeria reported two cases each this past week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disease caused by a virus that affects a person’s nervous system. Polio is mainly spread by ingesting items contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Polio can also be spread through, water, other drinks and uncooked food. The disease mainly affects children less than 5 years old, but unvaccinated people of any age are at risk. Even though most infected people have no  symptoms, signs and symptoms of severe illness may include paralysis of limbs and respiratory muscles.

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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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