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21 African countries experiencing circulating variant polio outbreaks – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 21 countries in the African Region are still experiencing circulating variant polio outbreaks. 

The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated this in her statement to mark this year’s World Polio Day.

She said some of them were in areas that had not seen any previous circulation in decades.

Moeti said though one case of polio was one too many, she added that this year, the region had seen a decrease in the number of detections in the region. 

She said a decline from 438 circulating variant polio cases reported this time last year (end of September 2022) to 304 cases in the same period this year, represented a decrease of 31 per cent in the number of cases in the past 12 months.

She added that no case of wild polio virus had been detected in the region in over a year.

She said these results offered hope that the African Region would halt poliovirus circulation to reach the global goal of polio eradication.

While saying that the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the fight, leading to a dip in population immunity and a resurgence of certain poliovirus types, she said member states were rapidly declaring and responding to polio and other health emergencies during outbreaks.


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