POLIO [to 12 December 2015]

POLIO [to 12 December 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

GPEI Update: Polio this week as of 9 December 2015

:: Two cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus were confirmed in Myanmar this week. The Ministry of Health is implementing an urgent outbreak response with the support of the partners of GPEI.

:: Around the world, thousands of polio workers have selflessly dedicated their lives to stopping polio in their communities. Five people have been honoured with Heroes of Polio Eradication (HOPE) Awards, presented by Bill Gates and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Read more.

:: In 2015, wild poliovirus transmission is at the lowest levels ever, with fewer cases reported from fewer areas of fewer countries than ever before. In 2015 so far, 66 wild poliovirus cases have been reported from two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan), compared to 324 cases from nine countries during the same period in 2014.

[Selected elements from Country-level reports]
:: One new WPV1 environmental positive sample was reported in the past week, collected on 24 November from Kabul province. – See more at: http://www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx#sthash.kc0eVwHo.dpuf
:: Efforts are underway to strengthen the implementation of the national emergency action plan in the country. Focus is on:
– Consolidating the National and Provincial Emergency Operations Centres
– Improving SIA quality by focusing resources on low-performing districts, and clearly identifying and targeting persistently missed children
– Maximising the impact of front-line health workers through more systematic vaccinator selection, training and supervision
– Ensuring closer cross-border coordination in border areas with Pakistan
– Further strengthening surveillance, including by expanding environmental surveillance activities
:: A mop-up campaign was carried out from 2 to 4 December in the West of the country using bivalent OPV. Subnational immunization days (SNIDs) are planned for 20 to 22 December, 10 to 12 January and 14 to 16 February, all using bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV.

:: Six new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the past week: four in Sindh province, one in Balochistan province, and one in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). The total number of WPV1 cases for 2015 is now 49, compared to 275 by this time in 2014.
:: Two new environmental samples positive for WPV1 were reported in the last week, both from Gadap Town, Sindh province, with collection dates of 12 and 17 November.

Lao People’s Democratic Republic
:: An emergency outbreak response is continuing in the country, with particular focus on three high-risk provinces. The first Subnational Immunization Days (SNIDs) using trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) targeted an expanded age group of children under the age of fifteen in the three most high risk districts, and children under the age of ten elsewhere. According to independent monitoring conducted in the high-risk areas, coverage of 85-95% was achieved, with 5-15% of children missed (primarily due to children not being present at the time of the vaccination teams’ visit).

:: An outbreak of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) has been confirmed in Myanmar, with two new cases confirmed in the past week. The most recent reported case was isolated from a 15-month old child in Rakhine, with onset of paralysis on 15 October. The case is genetically linked to a VDPV isolated in the same village earlier in the year, which has now been reclassified as a cVDPV type 2.
:: The re-classified strain had been originally isolated from a 28-month old child, with onset of paralysis on 16 April. The genetic changes of the isolate detected in April suggest that the cVDPV2 had already been circulating for more than one year.
:: The Ministry of Health of Myanmar is being supported by WHO and partners of the GPEI in planning and implementing an urgent outbreak response. Large-scale supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) using trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) has already been conducted from 5 to 7 December 2015, and a further three large-scale SIAs are planned in ‘high risk’ areas between now and the end of February 2016.
:: Significant immunization gaps remain in Myanmar, with an estimated 24% of children un- or under-immunized. Vaccination coverage remains particularly low among special at-risk populations. National surveillance rates are strong yet subnational gaps persist.
:: While WHO assesses the risk of international spread to be low, surveillance and immunization activities are being strengthened in neighbouring countries.

HOPE Awards – United Arab Emirates and Bill Gates Honor those Working to Stop Polio
Thursday, December 10, 2015
…To recognize the invaluable contributions of polio workers everywhere, this year His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered to create the first-ever Heroes of Polio Eradication (HOPE) Awards. On Sunday December 6, His Highness and Bill Gates personally honored five of these extraordinary individuals at the HOPE Awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

The award winners include:
:: HOPE Humanitarian Award: Mr. Constant Dedo from Ghana received the award for more than a decade of commitment to and perseverance in stopping polio in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Mr. Dedo was shot while working on an immunization campaign and, despite this, continued his work to support polio.

:: HOPE Education Award: Mr. Atta Ullah from Pakistan received the award for his innovative approach to educating communities in Pakistan about the importance of vaccinating children against polio.

:: HOPE Advocacy Award: Bibi Malika from Afghanistan received this award for her instrumental work on polio eradication in hard-to-reach areas, and has served as a community leader, a source of medical wisdom and a female role model in her community.

:: HOPE Innovation Award: Mr. Lawan Didi Misbahu from Nigeria, a polio survivor himself, and Chairman of The Association of Polio Survivors of Nigeria and President of the Para-Soccer Federation of Nigeria, received the award for the innovative program focused on engaging and rehabilitating 3000 paraplegics, who are mostly polio survivors in Nigeria. The Polio Survivors has had a core role in Nigeria’s polio program, mobilizing nearly 1300 polio survivors.

:: HOPE Achievement Award: Mrs. Freeda, a Lady Health Worker from Pakistan, received this award for efforts to stop polio over the last 15 years, even after a loved one was killed and she was injured in an attack during a vaccination drive.