Vaccine-derived poliovirus found in Burundi, Congo
JOHANNESBURG/LONDON – Health officials in Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have identified cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus, the World Health Organization and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said.
The WHO said the government of Burundi declared the discovery of the virus a public health emergency after cases were confirmed in an unvaccinated four-year-old boy in the Isale region of western Burundi and two other children who had been in contact with him.
Five other wastewater surveillance samples confirmed the presence of circulating type 2 poliovirus in Burundi, This is stated in the WHO statement.
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Circulating poliovirus type 2 differs from wild poliovirus in that infections occur when a weakened strain of poliovirus is contained in oral polio vaccine circulates among under-immunized populations for a long time.
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The findings are significant because they are the first to be linked to the use of the new oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), which was developed specifically to reduce this risk.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in a statement that circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 has been found in six children in the eastern provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, DRC.
Burundi plans to conduct a polio vaccination campaign in the coming weeks for all eligible children under the age of 7 with the help of WHO and the GPEI, the WHO said.
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“While the discovery of these outbreaks is a tragedy for affected families and communities, it is not a surprise with the wider use of the vaccine,” the GPEI, a partnership made up of WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other global health organizations, said in a statement. body
It states that 600 million doses of the new vaccine have been administered in 28 countries since March 2021 and confirms that the vaccine is safe and effective.
According to the GPEI, DRC has scheduled a vaccination campaign for April.