Zambia has recorded a new Poliovirus from the sewer samples taken from Mindolo Sewer Treatment pond in Kitwe’s Mindolo area last month.
Speaking during a press briefing Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said the confirmation comes shortly after a series of laboratory analysis carried out by the Zambia National Public Health Institute alongside polio vaccination.
Ms Masebo added that the National Surveillance System led by Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) conducted investigation on accounts of World Health Organization (WHO) advice.
“I wish to hasten to say that there are different types of polio viruses, though the mode of transmission is the same: through the oral-faecal route. Polio is a highly infectious viral disease. The virus is transmitted from person-to-person, as already stated, mainly through the oral-faecal route and multiplies in the intestines before invading in the central nervous system and causing paralysis,” Ms Masebo said.
She added that the new virus is different from the recent polio cases reported in some parts of Southern Africa.
Ms Masebo added that Zambia was prompted to launch Poliovirus vaccination campaign following reports of new polio virus among the neighboring countries and that so far the ministry has successfully conducted four rounds.
“What has just been confirmed suggests a different type of poliovirus, different from the one that was recorded in Mozambique and Malawi, to which we have been responding. This therefore entails the need to respond with another type of polio vaccine to which this particular type is sensitive,” Ms Masebo said.
She however noted that so far no person is displaying signs and symptoms of active polio disease have been detected in the affected area and that the presence of the isolate in our sewer samples is an indication of transmission of the virus in our community.
The minister added that the isolated incident is the induction of vaccination gaps among our populations, hence the need to respond quickly before persons begin to show signs or symptoms.
Ms Masebo further advised community leaders, members and the general public at large to take personal hygiene serious to prevent person to person transmission and that every child eligible to take the vaccines are taken to nearby clinics to take vaccination.