By Asmau Ahmad
Mozambique Health Ministry (MISAU) has declared a public health emergency in the country after confirming that a child in the northern Tete province had contracted the wild Polio Virus type 1 disease (PVS1).
The identification of this case resulted from the active surveillance of Acute Flaccid Palsy during the mass polio vaccination campaign that started in late March.
It became the country’s first PVS1 case in almost 30 years, according to a statement published by MISAU on Thursday.
“We recommend all parents and caretakers of children under five years of age that they get their children vaccinated in the next two vaccination rounds, which will take place soon on dates to be announced in due course,’’ the document said.
MISAU has encouraged the general public to continue to adhere to routine immunisation activities, as well as to observe good practices of personal and collective hygiene.
Polio is highly infectious and largely affects children younger than five years.
There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by immunisation.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally, wild poliovirus is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Children across the world remain at risk of wild polio type 1 as long as the virus is not eradicated in the last remaining areas in which it is still circulating.
According to the WHO, the case in Mozambique and the earlier one in Malawi do not affect Africa’s wild poliovirus-free certification because the virus strain is not indigenous.
Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after eliminating all forms of wild polio from the region.