WHO reports three new suspected WPV1 cases in South Sudan

The World Health Organization reported three new suspected cases of wild poliovirus type 1 in South Sudan on Tuesday and mapped out an emergency plan to keep the Sudanese protected from the outbreak.

An outbreak of poliovirus in the Horn of Africa has caused 174 reported cases in Somalia, 14 in Kenya and three in Ethiopia. The outbreak is expected to travel to South Sudan next. The three newly suspected cases occurred in three girls who were vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine.

Two of the patients reside in North Bahr El Gazal state, which is near the South Sudan/Sudan border, the third patient is from the Eastern Equatoria state, near the Kenya/Uganda/South Sudan border. All three girls developed paralysis in mid-August. The patients are currently being diagnosed via genetic sequencing to determine the true cause.

To combat a potential outbreak, which has been categorized as an emergency, the WHO planned to organize two National Immunization Days, scheduled for November and December. South Sudan already hosted two NIDs in March and April and two SNIDs in August and September.

An international investigatory team has deployed to South Sudan to assess the situation to best address the outbreak. Neighboring countries that are also at risk have also planned NIDs and SNIDs to be conducted between now and December.