Africa Is Polio-Free, After Nigeria Reports No New Cases
The WHO has declared Nigeria to be polio-free after the country reached its three-year mark of reporting no new cases. Just eight years ago, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all cases worldwide. This means that Africa is reportedly finally free of the wild poliovirus, although the continent awaits official certification from the Africa Regional Certification Commission, which is expected in August.
Although the region is free of endemic transmission of the virus, it continues to struggle with some transmission via vaccine, with Niger recently reporting a vaccine-derived outbreak. The WHO warns that immunization and surveillance activities must continue to prevent the risk of the virus re-emerging.
As the region struggles with coronavirus, “mass immunizations … have been postponed,” according to the WHO, but countries in the region are “planning the resumption of immunization and outbreak response in compliance with the guidance to stop COVID-19 transmission.”
Now, only Pakistan and Afghanistan are left in the fight to end endemic transmission of polio.