New epidemic of a form of polio in South Sudan

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Juba | A new epidemic of a form of polio has emerged in South Sudan, South Sudan’s health authorities said Thursday, after declaring that the “wild poliovirus” (WPV) that causes the disease has been eradicated.

Fifteen cases of “vaccine-derived polio” have been detected in the north-west of the country, but “the Ministry of Health and its partners are working on it and I think (the epidemic) is under control”, declared to reporters Dr John Pasquale Romunu, director of prevention services at the South Sudanese ministry.

These “circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses” (cVDPVs) are distinct from “wild” polioviruses, the original disease pathogens now eradicated from the African continent and only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is a rare mutation of the attenuated virus contained in the vaccine.

On August 25, South Sudan was one of the last African countries to have been confirmed that the “wild” poliovirus had been eradicated on its territory, allowing the World Health Organization (WHO) to officially declare the total eradication of polio in Africa.

But a few days later, polio reappeared in Sudan after having disappeared for more than a decade, according to the UN.

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