MMWR News Synopsis for November 9, 2018
Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Pakistan, January 2017–September 2018
Pakistan is one of three countries remaining in the world with endemic wild poliovirus. Poliovirus cases in Pakistan continued to decrease with only four cases reported in the 2018 MMWR (down from eight cases in 2017). The country is actively trying to eradicate poliovirus, but complete eradication requires critical activities: stop virus transmission in reservoir areas, reach missed and mobile populations, counter refusals, coordinate eradication efforts with neighboring Afghanistan, and continue high quality surveillance and vaccination activities. Pakistan is one of only three countries (Afghanistan and Nigeria) that has never interrupted wild poliovirus (WPV1). In 2017, Pakistan saw a 60 percent decrease in cases from 2016, reporting eight cases compared to 20 cases in 2016. As of September 18, 2018, only four cases of WPV1 have been reported in comparison with five cases at this time in 2017. To continue this downward curve of fewer cases until interruption, we must combat ongoing poliovirus circulation in reservoir areas and improve routine vaccination coverage in areas where routine immunization coverage with oral polio vaccine is sub-optimal, such as the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tribal Districts (KP-TD) of Pakistan, where coverage is 50% or less.