Polio update on country situations: West, Central and Horn of Africa

March 2018

Despite the high risks of poliovirus spread, many countries with a poliovirus free status in AFR have successfully remained so, due to their vigilance, commitment, and effective public health campaigns. 

West Africa
During October 2017, synchronized immunization campaigns took place between neighboring countries in West Africa. This part of an ongoing commitment to polio eradication, and reducing the threat of virus importation. Some countries also integrated the distribution of vitamin A and deworming medication into the campaign. 

Central Africa 
To reduce the risk of poliovirus spread from Nigeria, countries in Central Africa have remained fully committed to polio eradication, conducting immunization campaigns, surveillance activities, and vaccinating at major transit points and borders. 

Horn of Africa
No country in the Horn of Africa has reported a case of wild poliovirus since 2014, but the area is still considered at risk of polio due to subnational surveillance and immunization gaps, insecurity and population movements. All countries in the area remain fully committed to polio eradication, maintaining immunization activities, and conducting regular surveillance. 

In February 2018, circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the environment was confirmed in Somalia (which is located in EMR, but forms part of the Horn of Africa). This underlines the importance of high quality immunization and surveillance in all regions worldwide. Outbreak response is ongoing to close the outbreak, and prevent virus spread to neighboring countries in AFR.