UN says oral vaccine has caused new outbreak of polio in Sudan

LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization says a new polio outbreak in Sudan is linked to the ongoing vaccine-sparked epidemic in Chad – one of the countries declared the African continent free of wild polio virus by the UN Health Agency Week later.

in a statement This week, the WHO said two children in Sudan – one from South Darfur State and the other from Gedarif State, which is close to the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea – were paralyzed in March and April. Both were recently vaccinated against polio. The WHO said preliminary outbreak investigations suggest the cases are related to an ongoing vaccine-derived outbreak in Chad that was first detected last year and is now spreading to Chad and Cameroon.

The UN agency said “there is a local trend in Sudan and transmission continues with Chad,” adding that genetic sequencing confirmed several introductions of the virus from Chad to Sudan.

The WHO said it had found 11 additional vaccine-derived polio cases in Sudan and that the virus had also been identified in environmental samples. There are usually many more unproven cases for every confirmed polio patient. The highly contagious disease can spread quickly in contaminated water and often attack children under 5 years of age.

In rare instances, the surviving polio virus in the oral vaccine may turn into a form capable of spreading new outbreaks.

Last week, WHO and partners announced that the African continent was free of wild polio virus., It was “an incredible and emotional day.”

On Monday, the WHO warned that the risk of vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in Central Africa and the Horn of Africa was “high” given the large-scale population movements in the region.

More than a dozen African countries are currently battling polio outbreaks due to the virus, including Angola, Congo, Nigeria and Zambia.

Amidst the coronovirus epidemic, several large-scale vaccination campaigns required to eradicate polio have been disrupted in Africa and elsewhere, causing millions of children to become infected.

In April, WHO and its partners reluctantly recommended a temporary halt to large-scale polio vaccination campaigns, recognizing the move could lead to a resurgence of the disease. In May, he reported that 46 campaigns to vaccinate children against polio were suspended in 38 countries, mostly in Africa, due to the coronovirus epidemic.

Some campaigns have recently been resumed, but health workers are required to vaccinate more than 90% of children in their efforts to eradicate paralytic disease.

Health officials initially aimed to eradicate polio by 2000, a deadline pushed back repeatedly and missed. Wild polio is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Both countries are also struggling to prevent the outbreak of vaccine-derived polio.


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