SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

IHR emergency committee issues statement about spread of wild poliovirus

5th IHR Emergency Committee statement about wild poliovirus spreading internationally | Courtesy of polioeradication.org
The International Health Regulations (IHR) emergency committee held its fifth meeting last month to discuss the international spread of wild poliovirus throughout 2014 and 2015.

The April 24 committee discussed an update about the temporary recommendations made for Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were implemented in February. Approximately one year after health professionals announced that polio was spreading internationally, countries have made significant progress thanks to the director-general’s issue of temporary recommendations.

Thanks to these proactive measures, there have been no more confirmations of wild poliovirus cases in Africa for the past eight months. In 2015, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s reports amount to less than half of the number of wild poliovirus cases that were confirmed within the same time period in 2014.

Since October, there have been no other cases exported from Pakistan. The country estimates that the number of children who are persistently missed or inaccessible to vaccination campaigns has steadily decreased. Inaccessible children declined from approximately 300,000 to 50,000. Since November, approximately 370,000 international travelers were vaccinated for the virus each month. The country has agreed to continue applying the temporary recommendations.

Unfortunately, there are still three new documented wild poliovirus cases that exported from Afghanistan to Pakistan. This international spread continues to be a threat to worldwide health goals.