Wild poliovirus in Cameroon

Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been confirmed in Cameroon, the first wild poliovirus in the country since 2009.

Wild poliovirus was isolated from two acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases from West Region. The patients developed paralysis on 1 October and 19 October 2013. Genetic sequencing indicates that these viruses are linked to wild poliovirus last detected in Chad in 2011.

An emergency outbreak response plan is being finalized, including at least three national immunization days (NIDs), the first of which was conducted on 25-27 October 2013. Subnational immunization days (SNIDs) will be implemented in December 2013, followed by two subsequent national immunization days in January and February 2014. Routine immunization rates are reported to be approximately 85.3 percent for oral polio vaccine (OPV3). A response in neighbouring countries is also being planned, notably in Chad and Central African Republic.

Considering that this strain was last detected in the region in 2011, plans are also being developed to strengthen surveillance activities starting with a detailed analysis of sub-national surveillance sensitivity across the region to more clearly ascertain any gaps.



2 Comments on “Wild poliovirus in Cameroon

  1. I came across this yesterday; since @MEGlobalHealth is tracking the outbreak in Syria and the vaccination efforts in the Middle East we are now tuned into all things polio!

    Are theses outbreaks (Cameroon and China) par for course and easily containable, or are we witnessing a cluster of outbreaks? If it is the latter, what are the reasons? Relaxed surveillance? A lack of resources? Sheer speed of population movement? Poor sanitation?

    Just thinking out loud, and interested to hear your opinion as someone who has been tracking this for longer.


    Mariam Bhacker – globalhealthmiddleeast.com

    • Hello Mariam,

      Thank you for your inquiries!

      Despite efforts towards the global eradication of polio, there have been multiple international resurgences in recent years.

      Global public health initiatives have likely maintained active immunization of the population, with a focus on children. However, when societies face breakdown in political or economic infrastructure, it is difficult to maintain structured public health programmes. Conflict, natural disasters, or economic disparity exemplify these difficulties and prevent the maintenance of immunization programs. In these cases, we’re seeing increased susceptibility of the population (namely poor sanitation), decreased surveillance of new cases of infection within the population, and insuffcient vaccination of the population.

      Wild-type polio outbreaks may also occur. These rare incidents occur naturally in endemic areas. They could be prevented by widespread vaccination but it is difficult to predict where exposure to wild-type polio virus may occur.


      A. Watts

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