Congo, Gabon, DRC to undertake coordinated polio vaccination

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) – Congo, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will from 7 to 12 February undertake a coordinated vaccination campaign against poliomyelitis, which has killed scores of people in the past three months in Congo, the Congolese minister of Health, Georges Moyen, said on Tuesday.

"We are still in danger because all around us … the polio virus continues to circulate. In such a situation, the risk of contamination is huge. That’s why through a common agreement with WHO and UNICEF, experts have suggested we carry out a coordinated vaccination with Gabon and DR Congo from 7 to 12 February," Mr Moyen said.

Mr Moyen was speaking to the press at the close of a meeting during which he gave details of the poliomyelitis epidemic that has hit Congo since October last year.

He was joined by representatives from WHO and UNICEF, two UN agencies involved in the three vaccination sessions between November and January.

"Since October to date, we have recorded 542 cases including 220 deaths," Moyen said.

About the forthcoming vaccination campaign, he said it "will be a fourth stage" for Congo.

"Taking into consideration the movement of people living in neighbouring countries, it is necessary to hold a fourth session in which Congo should be interested," WHO representative Youssouf Gamatie said.

‘… coordinated activities are the most efficient in that they help cover the border zones through which the virus passes to circulate from one country to another," he said.

Poliomyelitis was regarded as having been eradicated in Congo, which had not recorded a case since 2000, according to WHO.

But the Polio Global Eradication Initiative reported that there were 24 confirmed cases of poliomyelitis in Congo in 2010 after the reappearance of the virus was reported.
-0- PANA MB/TBM/IBA/MSA/MA 25Jan2011

25 january 2011 21:20:23

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