(Reuters) - Polio has killed nearly 100 people, mainly young adults, in the Republic of Congo and paralyzed more than twice as many in the past six weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
WHO Country Offices in the WHO African Region
Polio this week - As of Tuesday November 9
- The Republic of Congo is experiencing an explosive outbreak of polio: although official data had not arrived in WHO HQ as of writing, at least 201 cases of acute flaccid paralysis and 104 deaths have been reported. Laboratory testing confirms that at least five of the AFP cases are caused by wild poliovirus (WPV1) and genetic sequencing shows that the virus is related to that circulating in Angola.
- The first outbreak response starts on 12 November, targeting the port city of Pointe Noire and the neighbouring Department of Kouilou. Due to the large number of adult victims, all ages are being vaccinated. The rest of the country will be covered starting 18 November.
- The number of cases globally is 767, half the number at this time last year (1337), largely due to progress in Nigeria (97% reduction) and India (93% reduction).
Wild poliovirus (WPV) cases
Wild poliovirus-infected districts, 2009–2010
- BRAZZAVILLE/DAKAR, 11 November 2010 – The first wave of mass polio immunization campaigns – targeting 3 million people of all ages – begins on Friday (12 November) to address an unusual outbreak of polio that is primarily claiming victims amongst adults. The campaign will take place in the coastal port city of Pointe Noire and in the Department of Kouilou in the Republic of Congo, 16 districts in the neighbouring province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and over the border in Angola.
This is the first vaccination response to a large and lethal polio outbreak in the Republic of Congo. Latest figures from 9 November, record a cumulative total of 226 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) with an unusually high death toll of 97. To date, four of the AFP cases have been confirmed as polio.Read the full story and the background on Disease Outbreak News