Democratic Republic of the Congo

Status: affected by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has not reported a case of wild poliovirus since 2011, however, the country is affected by circulating vaccine derived poliovirus. To stop transmission, it is essential for momentum to be maintained to reach every child with polio vaccines and to strengthen disease surveillance.

Polio this week in Central Africa

  • No new cases of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) were reported in the past week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). The total number of cVDPV2 cases this year remains seven, in two separate outbreaks: in Haut Lomami province (five cases, with onset of paralysis of the most recent case on 13 June); and in Maniema province (two cases with onset of paralysis on 26 March and 18 April, with an additional isolate detected in a healthy individual with sample collection on 2 May).
  • Confirmation of additional cases is not unexpected at this time. Outbreak response is taking place, including use of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2 (mOPV2) in line with internationally-agreed outbreak response protocols, targeting more than 750,000 children under the age of five across the two provinces.
  • The first mOPV2 round was implemented on 27-29 June in the two affected provinces; and the second mOPV2 round ran from 13-15 July in Haut Lomami and 20-22 July in Maniema.
  • Surveillance and immunization activities are being strengthened in neighbouring countries.

International Health Regulations

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is classified by the International Health Regulations (IHR) as a state infected with cVDPV2, with potential risk of international spread.  It is therefore subject to temporary recommendations as of August 2017.

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Key at-risk: no longer poliovirus-infected, but at high risk of outbreaks
Outbreak: has stopped indigenous WPV circulation but affected by outbreak of imported WPV or circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus
Endemic: has never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus (WPV) circulation

Travel advice

WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Residents (and visitors for more than 4 weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of OPV or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within 4 weeks to 12 months of travel.

More on vaccine-derived polioviruses