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The health authorities in Mozambique have announced the identification of a suspected case of polio in the centre of the country, in a teenager whose limbs were paralysed.
The case was detected in the coastal district of Inhassunge, in Zambezia province, with confirmation dependent on the results of laboratory tests that are underway.
The Ministry of Health is mobilising resources to undertake a third round of vaccination of children against polio this year, in July. The first round was launched in March, after a case of polio was detected in neighbouring Malawi in February.
The second round of vaccination was launched in April, with a total of 4.2 million children covered.
One case of polio was then confirmed in May in Tete, a province in the central interior, bordering Malawi. The case the first in Mozambique since 1992.
Genome sequencing analysis made it possible to link the infection to a variant circulating in Pakistan in 2019, as was the case reported by Malawi in February.
The World Health Organisation clarified that the two cases do not affect its certification declaring Africa to be free of wild poliovirus – which has been in force since August 2020 – because the virus variant is not native.
Globally, wild poliovirus is endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Polio is an incurable infectious disease that mainly affects children under five and can only be prevented by vaccination.
In some cases, it can cause paralysis of limbs.
“Children around the world remain at risk of wild polio if the virus is not eradicated in the last areas where it is still circulating,” the WHO has warned.