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South Sudan records 15 polio cases

Author: Richard Jale | Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

File: A child receives polio vaccine in South Sudan recently | Credit | WHO

South Sudan has recorded new cases of polio despite having been recently declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

More than 12 polio patients have been identified in some parts of the country, the Ministry of Health says.

“We have 15 cases in the whole country, 14 of which are in greater Bahr el Ghazal region,” George Awzenio Legge, manager of the expanded program on immunization at the ministry.

The new polio cases are a setback to South Sudan which was only declared poliovirus-free in August 2020.

The World Health Organization had also declared the Africa region free of the virus that same month.

The new cases in South Sudan were detected last month.

The first case was reported on September 4th following a notification from Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Till now, the cases recorded are; five in Warrap State, seven in Western Bahr el Ghazal State, and one each in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes states.

According to Awzenio, the laboratory results indicate that the confirmed cases are circulating Vaccines Derived Polio Virus type 2 like those reported in the neighboring countries of Chad and Sudan.

He announced plans to roll out more vaccination campaigns starting October 27.

“We want to reach all the children in every corner of South Sudan, at least to stop this outbreak,” he stressed.

George Awzenio stated that the campaign will target 1.5 million children under 5 years in 46 counties of seven states.

“We are taking counties from Western Equatoria, Unity and some from Upper Nile states,” he added.

Polio is a viral disease that is transmitted from person to person, mainly through a faecal-oral route or, less frequently, through contaminated water or food.

WHO says while there is no cure for polio, the disease can be prevented through the administration of a simple and effective vaccine.

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