The World Health Organization, WHO, has expressed deep sympathy over the detection of new cases of wild polio virus in Nigeria, after more than two years without wild poliovirus. Reacting to the development, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news that two Nigerian children have been paralyzed by polio. The Government has made significant strides to stop this paralyzing disease in recent years. “The overriding priority now is to rapidly immunize all children around the affected area and ensure that no other children succumb to this terrible disease.” In his own reaction, Director of polio eradication at WHO Headquarters, Dr. Michel Zaffran, was optimistic. “We are confident that with a swift response and strong collaboration with the Nigerian Government, we can soon rid the country of polio once and for all. This is an important reminder that the world cannot afford to be complacent as we are on the brink of polio eradication – we will only be done when the entire world has been certified polio-free,” he said. According to WHO, genetic sequencing of the viruses suggests that the new cases are most closely linked to a wild poliovirus strain last detected in Borno in 2011. Low-level transmission of the poliovirus is not unexpected, particularly in areas where it is difficult to reach children with the vaccine. Subnational surveillance gaps persist in some areas of Borno, as well as in areas of neighbouring countries. As recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, but the country has made significant strides, recently marking two years without a case on 24 July 2016. This progress has been the result of a concerted effort by all levels of government, civil society, religious leaders and tens of thousands of dedicated health workers. Steps including increased community involvement and the establishment of Emergency Operations Centers at the national and state level have been pivotal to Nigeria’s capacity to respond to outbreaks.
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WHO sad over new polio cases in Nigeria
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