A new polio case was recorded last week in the Far North region. "According to initial information, it was detected in a 13-month-old unvaccinated child. His parents came from Nigeria but have been living in Cameroon for four years now. Teams are currently on the field to get more information. In the next two days, we will have more information,” revealed sources at the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), on condition of anonymity.
This is the third case of poliovirus detected in the country this year. On February 22, 2021, the Minister of Public Health (Minsanté) Manaouda Malachie declared a "public health emergency" following the discovery of two cases of type 2 poliovirus in environmental samples in the Cité Verte district, in Yaoundé. "Those types of poliovirus can cause paralysis. This is why, each time a case is declared, a vaccination campaign must be launched to stop the circulation of this virus," explains Professor Seraphin Nguefack, a neuro pediatrician and president of the National Committee of Polio Experts. Vaccine-preventable polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus (poliovirus) that invades the nervous system and can lead to irreversible paralysis and even death within hours.
It mainly affects children under the age of 5, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Cameroon was declared "wild poliovirus (WPV) free" on June 18, 2020, after more than five years without any reported cases and extensive child immunization efforts. Although the so-called "wild" polioviruses are eradicated in the country, other forms of circulating type 2 poliovirus (cVDPV2) derived from a vaccine strain are still circulating and constitute a threat. In March 2021, the country inaugurated its first Poliovirus Response Coordination Center to maintain its status as a polio-free country and to end the circulation of all forms of polio in the national territory.