Africa on its way to be free from Wild Polio-No cases report
Africa has gone 3 years without a case of wild polio being detected, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, a significant milestone in the quest to eradicate the disease.

The continent's last case of polio caused by the wild virus was detected on 21 August 2016 in Nigeria. Africa is expected to be certified free of wild polio in early next year following an independent evaluation process, however, vaccine-derived cases of the disease still pose a challenge.

"We are confident that very soon we will be back here trumpeting the certification that countries have, once and for all, kicked polio out of Africa," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

Moeti attributed present progress to an "unprecedented scale" of multinational effort by governments, partners, and health workers, who have deployed financial and technical resources to provide vaccination and education, especially in remote areas. "It has involved men and women volunteering in the thousands, sometimes putting themselves in harm's way,"

Once Africa is declared free of the disease, five of the WHO's six regions will be free of wild polio. Only what the WHO calls the Eastern Mediterranean is still fighting the disease, with polio still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Wild vs vaccine-derived polio:
Vaccine-derived polio happens when live strains of poliovirus that are used in the oral poliovirus vaccine mutate, spread and, in rare cases, trigger an outbreak.

Most of the time the virus dies off but it can sometimes spread in an area where there is low vaccination coverage. The solution for stopping this type of polio is for every child to be vaccinated to stop its transmission, according to WHO, which has noted that if a population is fully immunized, they will be protected against both vaccine-derived and wild polioviruses.

The circulating vaccine-derived polio will be subject to a certification process that's separate from the wild polio process, according to WHO.

However, outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio strains have occurred in the Central African Republic, Somalia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Papua New Guinea in recent years

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/21/health/africa-countdown-polio-eradication/index.html
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