Vaccine-derived poliovirus case confirmed in Lao’s PDR
The patient’s paralysis began on Sept. 7, and he died on Sept. 11 -- at just eight years old. He was located in the Bolihamxay Province in the district of Bolikhan, which shows chronically low immunization rates; the area has between 40 percent and 66 percent coverage with three oral polio vaccine (OPV) doses from 2009 to 2014. The region’s last reported case of indigenous wild poliovirus was confirmed in 1993.
Health professionals conducted genetic sequencing of the virus to identify it as vaccine-derived. The virus may have circulated throughout the region for over two years.
In response to the new outbreak, there are numerous comprehensive outbreak response activities taking place. These are aligned with the outlines in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Standard Operating Procedures that are dedicated to poliovirus outbreak responses.
A team uniting the WHO, the Ministry of Health, the Lao Office of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF have already traveled to Bolihamxay Province to investigate the case further. They conducted a rapid survey in the surrounding area, which showed low OPV vaccine coverage.