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20 Feb 2013

Poliomyelitis - Multistate (world) - Monitoring global outbreaks (ECDC/CDTR, February 20 2013)

[Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), full PDF document: (LINK). Extract.]


Week 7, 10-16 February 2013 / CDTR



Poliomyelitis - Multistate (world) - Monitoring global outbreaks

Opening date: 8 September 2005 Latest update: 14 February 2013


Epidemiological summary

One new case was reported in the past week, a WPV1 from Pakistan with onset of paralysis on 26 January 2013. The total number of cases for 2013 is two, compared with 14 cases for the same period in 2012.

On 8 February, two health facilities in Kano state, Nigeria, were attacked, killing eleven people, including health workers, and injuring several others.



ECDC assessment

Although the Global Polio Eradication Initiative missed its end-2012 milestone of stopping all wild poliovirus transmission globally, the programme brought the world very close to eradicating polio as 2012 ended, with the fewest wild polio cases ever reported.

Two hundred and twenty-two wild polio cases were reported in 2012 – a reduction of over 60% compared with 2011.

However, there are profound concerns about the polio situation for 2013, especially due to difficulties in the implementation of the immunisation programme in Pakistan. The programme has been severely affected by the recent attacks that have killed several polio vaccination campaign workers in Pakistan. This may well have an effect on neighbouring Afghanistan, which, together with Pakistan and Nigeria, is one of the three remaining polio-endemic countries in the world. Other neighbouring countries, such as China where a polio outbreak in 2011 was imported from Pakistan, will be equally at risk. The discovery of the wild polio virus strain in Egypt linked to Pakistan and the recent violence against health care workers in Nigeria, gives further cause for unease.

The WHO European Region so far remains polio-free.

ECDC follows reports on polio cases worldwide through epidemic intelligence in order to highlight polio eradication efforts and identify events that increase the risk of re-introduction of wild poliovirus (WPV) into the EU.

The last polio cases in the European Union occurred in 2001 when three young Bulgarian children of Roma ethnicity developed flaccid paralysis from WPV. Investigations showed that the virus originated from India. The latest outbreak in the WHO European Region was in Tajikistan in 2010 when WPV1 imported from Pakistan caused an outbreak of 460 reported cases. The last indigenous WPV case in Europe was in Turkey in 1998. An outbreak in the Netherlands in a religious community opposed to vaccinations caused two deaths and 71 cases of paralysis in 1992.