By STEPHANIE KUNDA
HEALTH authorities in Eastern Province say the country is on high alert following a case of Wild Polio virus detected in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.
Provincial health director Gideon Zulu said in an interview yesterday that the country would not take any chances by ensuring that the measure are in place to stop the spread of polio.
“In terms of immunization as a country, we are good. We will also ensure that we look for children not immunized so that we have them immunized . We will be on red alert,” he said.
Dr Zulu said that surveillance would be heightened.
According to Reutersand BBC, Malawi declared a polio outbreak after a case was detected in a young child, the first case of the wild poliovirus in Africa in more than five years, the World Health Oganisation (WHO) said.
Laboratory analysis showed that the strain in Malawi was linked to one that has been circulating in Pakistan, where it is still endemic.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative said that the case in Malawi was a three-year-old girl who experienced onset paralysis in November last year.
“Detection of Wild Polio virus outside the world’s two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan is a serious concern and underscores the important of prioritizing Polio immunization activities,” says the Global Eradication Initiative.
Polio is highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours.
However, while there is no cure it can be prevented by vaccine, WHO says.