All data as of 28 June 2011 Download: english ¦ french
There have been 241 cases globally in 2011 (216 wild poliovirus type 1 - WPV1 - and 25 WPV3), compared with 456 cases at the same time in 2010 (399 WPV1 and 57 WPV3).
Over 80% of cases this year come from just three countries: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Pakistan.
IMB convenes in London: The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) is convening its third quarterly meeting in London, UK, on 30 June to 1 July. The meeting follows the IMB's end-March meeting, during which it offered a frank assessment of the global epidemiological situation. In addition to reviewing the emergency plans launched in countries deemed to be off-track at the most recent meeting, the Board will analyse the situations in India, Nigeria and Afghanistan. The Board will also review actions taken by the spearheading partner agencies - the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF - as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in response to specific recommendations from its March meeting. Outbreak in Chad threatens to spread: Chad now has the highest number of polio cases of any country in the world, and with cases reported from across the country - including close to the border with Sudan - WHO updated its risk assessment of potential international spread via the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR 2005) mechanism. With the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) expected to begin in early November and Ramadan in early August, it is anticipated that pilgrims are now beginning to move across west and central Africa, further increasing the risk of polio spread. To address the situation, the Government of Chad has now finalized a six-month national polio emergency plan. See 'Chad' section below, for more details. NEJM publishes vision for post-eradication era: The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article outlining the vision for the post-eradication era. Authored by Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General and Tachi Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the article 'The Polio Endgame' outlines the strategic direction the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is taking to prepare for the management of post-eradication risks. "Preventing new polio outbreaks in a 'post-eradication era' will require more than biocontainment measures," the article states. "It will eventually require stopping routine immunization with oral polio vaccine (OPV) and eliminating vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs)." More. India - new West Bengal Chief Minister commits to polio eradication: Newly-elected Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, committed to provide the necessary leadership to ensure polio outbreak response is fully implemented in her state. Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, made the commitment at a high-level meeting organized by Rotary International, and representatives of WHO and UNICEF. Banerjee subsequently officially launched the latest supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) in the state on 26 June. "We have to take the vaccine so there are no cases of polio - we have to eradicate the virus from wherever it is in existence," she said, moments before undertaking what she called "the proud privilege" of immunizing four children in front of the assembled media. West Bengal is the location of India's only case in 2011 (from January), and intensified outbreak response efforts have been ongoing. EMRO TAG reviews polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan: The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Technical Advisory Group (TAG) met from 22-23 June in Egypt. The TAG meeting followed the Afghanistan-Pakistan TAG in March and the Horn of Africa TAG in May. The Regional TAG offered a detailed assessment of the challenges facing both Afghanistan and Pakistan; however, the TAG focused on Pakistan, which has significantly more cases in 2011 compared to 2010 and is moving into the high-transmission season. The TAG endorsed the recommendations put forth in March but was concerned at the slow pace of implementation of the National Emergency Action Plan and the limited progress made to address sub-district level SIA quality in Pakistan. The TAG also considered the situation of WPV isolation from a December 2010 sewage sample in Aswan, Egypt that was linked genetically with a 2009 WPV type 1 case from Khartoum, Sudan, and 2008 WPV1 from southern Sudan. The TAG was satisfied with the investigation and subsequent Sub-national Immunization Days (SNID) response in Aswan governorate and border states of Sudan. The TAG also agreed to the proposed contingency measures to vaccinate more than 800,000 inaccessible target children in Somalia. The group endorsed the Horn of Africa TAG recommendations from May which called for strengthening of surveillance activities, including cross-border planning and implementation, and endorsing additional rounds of both NIDs and SNIDs in Sudan. Tachi Yamada, long-serving polio advocate at Gates Foundation, steps down as President of Global Health Program: Dr Tachi Yamada has stepped down from his position as President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In his role, Dr Yamada has been instrumental in scaling up the Foundation's support to the GPEI, especially at the critical juncture in the programme as it researched, prepared and rolled out the new Strategic Plan 2010-2012. "Tachi Yamada's leadership and personal engagement in polio eradication has made a huge difference to the programme," said Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General. "His drive and vision helped elevate polio eradication to the new level of attention it now has with leaders everywhere - ultimately, this is what will secure a polio-free world." More.
Pakistan continues to be affected by widespread geographic transmission of polio, affecting most of the country. This is confirmed not just by high numbers of cases, notably in the reservoir areas of Balochistan, Sindh and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), but also by isolation of poliovirus from collected environmental samples in six large cities of the four major provinces.
One of the newly-reported cases from this month is from Gilgit Baltistan (mountainous northern area), the first polio case in this part of Pakistan in more than 12 years. The virus is linked to 2009 transmission in Swat, and the child affected is from an underserved population group originally from FATA.
SNIDs were conducted on 13-15 June, but were postponed for one week due to a cyclone warning in some districts of Sindh including Karachi and due to inadequate preparations in a number of key districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.
In Karachi, a special strategy is now being developed to increase outreach to marginalized and underserved population groups.
Aseefa Bhutto, daughter of Benazir Bhutto and ambassador for polio eradication, on 20 June officially launched immunization campaigns. President Asif Ali Zardari was present at the ceremony, to mark the partnership of polio eradication. In her address to health experts, international donor agencies and the diplomatic community, Bhutto called for collective partnership and volunteerism in order to completely banish polio from the country.
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