Aid workers in war-torn Somalia are struggling to contain a dangerous outbreak of the crippling poliovirus, with rampant insecurity hampering efforts, the United Nations said on Friday [16 Aug 2013].
[In 2013], 6 years after the Horn of Africa nation was declared free of the virus, at least 105 cases have been confirmed in Somalia, the "worst outbreak in the world in a non-endemic country", the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement. "The polio outbreak plaguing Somalia has spread despite significant efforts to curb the disease," OCHA added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) from Israel to remain moderate to high. This risk assessment reflects evidence of increasing geographic extent of circulation over a prolonged period of time.
WPV1 has been detected in 67 sewage samples from 24 sampling sites in Israel, collected from [3 Feb 2013 to 4 Aug 2013]. Initially restricted to southern Israel, WPV1 has now also been detected in the central district as well. WPV1 has also been isolated in stool samples from 27 healthy children (all under the age of 9 years) and one adult, who had been fully immunized for their age as part of ongoing stool sample survey activities. No case of paralytic polio has been reported. In addition to routine acute flaccid paralysis, public health authorities have expanded the surveillance to all age groups, have increased enterovirus surveillance, and are screening aseptic meningitis cases for polio.