Polio: WHO reports first outbreak in Africa after four years

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Malawi has recorded the first polio outbreak on the African continent in several years, the World Health Organisation announced on Friday.

Polio is a contagious infectious disease and can cause paralysis and death.

The wild type 1 poliovirus was discovered in a child in the city of Lilongwe, WHO said, adding that laboratory tests had shown that it had apparently been brought in from Pakistan.

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Afam Osigwe

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

“As long as wild polio exists anywhere in the world all countries remain at risk of importation of the virus” said WHO regional director, Matshidiso Moeti.

The organisation will support local health authorities in the south-east African country to ensure that the case remained isolated and did not spread, she said.

Except for Afghanistan and Pakistan, all countries in the world had beaten the wild polioviruses.

In Africa, the last case was registered in Nigeria in 2018.

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