Panafrican News Agency

Polio cases reported in Sudan despite announcement of its eradication in Africa

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (PANA) - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported cases of polio in Sudan, after the World Health Organization (WHO) last Tuesday announced its eradication in the Africa region.

"At least 13 people have been affected by the disease in nine of Sudan's 18 states since the first case was detected on August 9," OCHA said in a statement obtained on Saturday by PANA in Ouagadougou.

It said the cases have been confirmed in West Darfur, East Darfur, South Darfur, Gedaref, Al Gezira, White Nile, River Nile and Red Sea states.

In addition, wild poliovirus type 2 was detected in samples taken in the state of Khartoum, "which indicates the possibility of a wide circulation of the virus in the country", said OCHA, in its bulletin dated of 27 August.

Cases have also been reported in Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Chad.

"This increases the risks (of spread) in Sudan, especially in Darfur, due to population movements," notes OCHA.

According to the World Health Organization, an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is occurring in countries with low immunization levels and poor sanitary conditions.

When a child is vaccinated against polio, the weakened vaccine virus replicates in the intestine and can be excreted in the environment.