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Monday, 5th of August 2013 Print

Background on Outbreak

  • ·         Overview

o   There are currently 105 recorded wild poliovirus (WPV) cases in the Horn of Africa: 95 in Somalia and 10 in Kenya. These are the first laboratory-confirmed cases of wild polio virus since July 2011 in Kenya and March 2007 in Somalia.

  • ·         Somalia

o   The first 2013 Somali WPV case had onset of paralysis on 18 April in Mogadishu.

o   Banadir is the epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for more than half of all cases associated with this outbreak (as of 31 July).

o   There have also been reported polio cases in Lower Shabelle, areas of which are inaccessible due to insecurity. Access to families in Lower Shabelle has been compromised for the past three years. As many as 600,000 children in this area are at particular risk for polio.

o   One polio case has been reported in Somaliland. This case is far from the other cases and close to the border with Ethiopia, threatening further spread.

  • ·         Kenya

o   The first 2013 Kenyan WPV case had onset of paralysis on 30 April in Dadaab, Kenya.

o   Dadaab, the site of a major refugee camp hosting 500,000 people from across the Horn, is the Kenyan epicenter of the outbreak.

  • ·         Response

o   As of July 24, twelve vaccination campaigns have been conducted across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen that aimed to reach more than 17 million children and adults.   

o   Immunization campaigns across the Horn of Africa, including in Ethiopia and Yemen, will continue throughout 2013. 

  • ·         Recent Media

o   Africa: Response to Polio Outbreaks Shows Global Eradication Plan Is Working (August 5) This op-ed by Helen Rees, executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, provides an update on the Horn of Africa polio outbreak statistics and emergency response protocol.

o   Beyond the News: The Outbreak in the Horn of Africa (July 31)

Despite some recent news coverage to the contrary, health experts provide assurance that the ongoing Horn of Africa outbreak will not derail eradication efforts.

o   A Setback on Polio (July 29)

This article by the Washington Post Editorial Board, describes how low routine immunization rates and insecurity are key enablers of this outbreak.

o   Responding to New Polio Outbreaks (July 19)

This article highlights the strength and success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s emergency outbreak response tactics to stop transmission.

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