WHO and FG confirm 2 new polio cases in Nigeria

An outbreak of wild polio virus has been confirmed in Borno State, Nigeria, by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.
In a statement released on Thursday, Prof. Adewole said the outbreak had affected two children from Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas of the State.
The Minister said the fresh cases were detected during a
surveillance of north-eastern states by health officials from the Ministry.
According to the Minister, a national emergency response team had been sent to Borno State for immediate polio vaccination to prevent the spread of the virus locally and internationally.
He also gave details about forthcoming immunization schedules for children in Borno and adjourning states, while charging parents in the region to stay vigilant.
The Minister stated, “Local health officials with the support of partners including WHO and UNICEF are conducting detailed risk analysis to clearly ascertain the extent of circulation of the virus, and to assess overall levels of population immunity in order to guide the response.
“As an immediate response, about one million children are to be immunized in four local government areas in Borno State. Children in adjoining states of Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe will also be immunized bringing the number to about five million in the four states.”
WHO in a statement in Geneva on Thursday also confirmed the two new cases in Nigeria.
Its Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, who said the organisation was saddened by the development,  stated that it was collaborating with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Federal Government  to prevent more children from being paralyzed.
Moeti stated, “We are deeply saddened by the news that two Nigerian children have been paralyzed by polio. The Government has made significant strides to stop this paralyzing disease in recent years. The overriding priority now is to rapidly immunize all children around the affected area and ensure that no other children succumb to this terrible disease.”
The Director of Polio Eradication at WHO Headquarters, Dr. Michel Zaffran, revealed that genetic sequencing of the viruses were linked to a wild polio virus strain that was  detected in Borno in 2011.
Zaffran stated that a resurgence of the polio virus was not a surprise particularly in areas where it was difficult to reach children with the vaccine.
The global health agency warned neighbouring countries such as Chad to stay vigilant.
He said, “We are confident that with a swift response and strong collaboration with the Nigerian Government, we can soon rid the country of polio once and for all.  This is an important reminder that the world cannot afford to be complacent as we are on the brink of polio eradication — we will only be done when the entire world has been certified polio-free.”

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