Syria - Credit Wikipedia
The World Health Organization release the following update this morning on the Polio outbreak situation in Syria (see WHO/UNICEF: Polio Vaccination Response For Syria & Neighboring Countries for earlier reports).
Below that you’ll find a link to Helen Branswell’s terrific report from yesterday on recent gains made against one of the two remaining wild strains of polio; WPV3.
Disease outbreak news
11 November 2013 - Thirteen cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have been confirmed in the Syrian Arab Republic. Genetic sequencing indicates that the isolated viruses are most closely linked to virus detected in environmental samples in Egypt in December 2012 (which in turn had been linked to wild poliovirus circulating in Pakistan). Closely related wild poliovirus strains have also been detected in environmental samples in Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip since February 2013. Wild poliovirus had not been detected in the Syrian Arab Republic since 1999.
A comprehensive outbreak response continues to be implemented across the region. On 24 October 2013, an already-planned large-scale supplementary immunization activity was launched in the Syrian Arab Republic to vaccinate 1.6 million children against polio, measles, mumps and rubella, in both government-controlled and contested areas. Implementation of a supplementary immunization campaign in Deir Al Zour province commenced promptly when the first ‘hot’ acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases were reported. Larger-scale outbreak response across the Syrian Arab Republic and neighbouring countries will continue for at least 6-8 months depending on the area and based on the evolving situation.
Given the current situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, frequent population movements across the region and the immunization level in key areas, the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high. A surveillance alert has been issued for the region to actively search for additional potential cases.
WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to and from polio-infected areas be fully vaccinated against polio.
TORONTO – The effort to rid the world of polio is too often a journey of one step forward and two steps back, with the heartbreaking news that polio is crippling toddlers in war-ravaged Syria the most recent evidence of that stuttering progress.
Still, there is some good news on the polio front.
Sunday marks one year since Type 3 polio viruses have been found, suggesting vaccination efforts may – heavy stress on may – have wiped out the second of three strains of polio.
If the Type 3 viruses are indeed gone, it will mean that only Type 1 polio viruses remain to be vanquished before the long-overdue goal of polio eradication can be realized.