Polio virus detected in Brazilian sewage
Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been isolated from sewage samples in Sao Paulo state in Brazil, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported yesterday.
The samples were collected in March at the Viracopos International Airport in Campinas in the southeastern part of the country. Tests at a national lab confirmed the virus on Jun 18, the WHO said in a statement.
The isolate was detected through routine environmental surveillance, and there has been no evidence of WPV1 transmission or polio cases, the agency said. Subsequent sampling has turned up no further WPV1, only evidence of vaccine-derived viruses.
"Genetic sequencing indicated a close match with a strain of WPV1 that was recently isolated from a case of polio in Equatorial Guinea. Additional epidemiological investigation is ongoing," the WHO said.
Brazilian health officials have stepped up surveillance for further evidence of environmental WPV1 and for human cases. Vaccination coverage rates in Sao Paulo state top 95%.
Jun 23 WHO statement
Pakistan, Afghanistan report new polio cases
Pakistan confirmed seven new WPV1 infections and Afghanistan two last week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a communicable disease threats report today.
Globally, 103 polio cases have been reported to the WHO this year, the report said, compared with 77 in the same period last year, an increase of a third. Pakistan has by far the most cases, 82, followed by Afghanistan, with 6, Equatorial Guinea, 4; Cameroon, 3; Nigeria, 3; and Iraq, 2. Ethiopia, Somalia, and Syria have each had 1 case.
"The confirmed circulation of WPV in 10 countries and the documented exportation of WPV to neighbouring countries for three of them, support the fact that there is a potential risk for WPV being re-introduced into the EU/EEA," the ECDC said.
Jun 23 ECDC report
Measles, polio vaccination drive targets displaced kids in Iraq
The conflict in Iraq has prompted plans for a major measles and polio vaccination drive in the country's Kurdistan region in response to the arrival of more 300,000 internally displaced persons there, the regional health ministry and the WHO announced on Jun 21.
The displaced people fled to the Kurdish area as a result of fighting in northern Iraq's Ninewa governorate, the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) said in a statement.
The vaccination campaign is scheduled to start Jun 29, the WHO said. It aims to reach more than 800,000 Syrian and Iraqi children up to 5 years old both in camps and in host communities, as well as children crossing the checkpoint from Mosul into Erbil.
The supply of polio vaccine is sufficient, but the regional health ministry has asked the WHO to obtain more measles vaccine doses, the statement said. The WHO is also providing other forms of technical support.
Polio and measles vaccinations have already started in transit camps hosting displaced families in Dohuk, Erbil, and Solomaniya, the agency said. More than 20,000 children in the camps have been vaccinated.
Jun 21 WHO EMRO statement
UAE sponsors Pakistan polio immunization campaign
A polio vaccination campaign sponsored by the United Arab Emirates has reached 2.5 million Pakistani children in recent weeks, with a goal of reaching 1.1 million more, according to a Jun 21 report in The National, a UAE-based newspaper.
The story said a 12-day effort this month involved nearly 5,000 medical teams in Pakistan's northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 12 tribal regions.
Abdullah Al Ghafli, director of the assistance program, said the campaign has overcome geographical challenges that prevented previous campaigns from reaching the areas, which have accounted for 95% of Pakistan's polio cases in the past 6 months.
Jun 21 The National story