POLIO [to 30 May 2015]

POLIO [to 30 May 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

GPEI Update: Polio this week – As of 27 May 2015
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
[Editor’s Excerpt and text bolding]
Full report: http://www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx
:: Ministers of Health from around the world adopted a landmark resolution to end polio once and for all at the World Health Assembly in Geneva last week. The discussions were informed by a status report prepared by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Draft 3rd report of the Committee A , WHO news release from 22 May 2015
:: Polio staff continue to offer support to the humanitarian response to the devastating earth quakes in Nepal. Read more.
:: The 11th IMB report was published last week, reporting on progress towards polio eradication and making recommendations
Selected excerpts from Country-specific Reports
Afghanistan
:: One new case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been reported in the past week in Gulestan district of Farah province. This most recent case had onset of paralysis on 5 May. The total number of WPV1 cases for 2015 is now 2, and remains 28 for 2014. Most of the cases from 2014 were linked with cross-border transmission from neighbouring Pakistan.
:: Environmental sampling in the country continues to find wild poliovirus (most recently in Hilmand). Such sampling is invaluable to improved surveillance for the virus.
:: Subnational Immunization Days (SNIDs) are planned from 14 – 16 June across the south and east using bivalent OPV. National Immunization Days are scheduled on 16 to 18 Augus
Pakistan
:: Two new environmental samples positive for WPV1 were reported this week from Quetta district of Balochistan and from Jacobabad district of Sindh.
:: Currently, the focus of the polio eradication programme in Pakistan is on known infected areas and on areas deemed to be high-risk but which have not reported polio cases.
:: Environmental surveillance indicates widespread circulation of polioviruses – WPV as well as VDPV – not just in known infected areas but also in areas without cases. Environmental surveillance is proving to be an instrumental supplemental surveillance tool enabling a clearer epidemiological picture.

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WHO and UNICEF launch vaccination campaign to keep Iraq polio free
Baghdad | Erbil, 26 May 2015 – A mass polio vaccination campaign, aiming to target 5.7 million children under the age of 5, began in Iraq on 24 May. The campaign will be conducted in all governorates to maintain the country’s polio-free status. The last case of polio was reported on 7 April 2014; a 34-month-old girl from the Rasafa district of Baghdad.

Iraq’s response to combating polio aligns with a multi-country response plan developed following the outbreak of polio in Syria in 2013. Multiple vaccination rounds held in country since then have helped to protect Iraqi children from the paralysis caused by this incurable disease. Despite ongoing conflict, mass population displacement and a complex and unpredictable security situation, only 2 cases of polio were confirmed in Iraq during the regional outbreak in early 2014.

WHO Country Representative to Iraq Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain said, “Despite the civil unrest that engulfs over a third of the country, polio campaigns have continued to reach up to 90% of children through collaborative efforts with multiple line-ministries and local partners.” He paid tribute to polio vaccination team members and parents and appealed to the international community and partners for their continued financial and technical support over the next 12 months for an additional 4 nationwide vaccination campaigns.”Community efforts were well acknowledged by the Independent Monitoring Board for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative during their recent meeting. However, significant risks continue to exist and thus there is no room for complacency,” Dr Hussain added.

UNICEF Country Representative to Iraq Phillippe Heffinck added, “The polio effort in Iraq has been successful despite tremendous challenges. The collaboration and leadership of the Ministries of Health and strong collaboration with partners, such as WHO, have established community ownership for polio campaigns, and created a strong platform for rolling out strong routine immunization services. Both of these achievements are not only remarkable, but essential to keep Iraq polio free and improve the health of all Iraqi children.”…