The latest case in Mozambique was found in a child who showed signs of paralysis in late March, according to a statement from the World Health Organization.
Sequencing indicates that the Mozambique case is linked to a strain of polio outbreak in Pakistan in 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year.
The WHO declared Africa free of the wild polio virus in August 2020, although many countries on the continent have reported vaccine-related outbreaks in recent years. There is no difference between a virus caused by a wild virus or a virus modified from a vaccine.
“The detection of another case of wild poliovirus in Africa is extremely worrying, even if it is surprising given the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it does show how dangerous the virus is and how fast it can spread, “said Matsidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Africa director.
In response to the lawsuit in neighboring Malawi, Mozambique recently launched two mass immunization campaigns to vaccinate 4.2 million children against the disease, the WHO said.
Disease surveillance is being stepped up in five countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The vaccination campaign is scheduled to reach 23 million children aged five and under next week.
Polio is highly contagious, spreads mostly through water and affects children under the age of five. There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by vaccination. The WHO and its partners began efforts to eradicate polio worldwide in 1988 and have missed many deadlines to eradicate the disease.