Eradication efforts suffer setback as polio found in Malawi

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) said au-thorities in Malawi have detected a case of polio in the southern African country’s capital, another set-back in continuing efforts to eradicate the highly infectious paralytic disease globally.

In a statement on Friday, the UN health agency said officials had identified wild poliovirus disease in a young child in Lilongwe, the first time the wild virus has been detected on the African continent in five years.

Although polio has been spreading in numerous African countries in recent years, those outbreaks were linked to viruses originally contained in vac-cines, not to the wild virus. In very rare instances, the live virus in the oral polio vaccine can mutate into a version capable of causing epidemics, particu-larly in populations that haven’t been immunised.

WHO said lab tests showed the polio virus de-tected in Malawi is connected to the strain that has been spreading in Pakistan’s Sindh province, where the disease remains entrenched.—APP

 

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