Syrian Arab Republic

Status: affected by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus

In 2013 and 2014, Syria experienced an outbreak of wild poliovirus closely related to virus originating in Pakistan. No wild poliovirus has been found in the country since January 2014, and Syria has not had a case of indigenous wild poliovirus since 1999.

Syria is currently affected by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. To stop the outbreak, GPEI is working to reach every child in at-risk areas with polio vaccines to protect them against the disease and raise population immunity. The programme is also further strengthening disease surveillance to ensure rapid detection and response wherever the virus emerges.

Polio this week in The Middle East

  • In Syria, four new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) were reported in the past week, all from Mayadeen district, Deir-Al-Zour governorate.  The total number of cVDPV2 cases is now 27.  All cases had onset of paralysis between 3 March and 6 June.  Twenty-six of the cases are from Mayadeen, and one case is from Raqua governorate.
  • Confirmation of additional cases is not unexpected at this time and would not change the operational situation, as outbreak response plans are being finalized, in line with internationally-agreed outbreak response protocols.  Although access to Deir-Al-Zour is compromised due to insecurity, the Governorate has been partially reached by several vaccination campaigns against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases since the beginning of 2016. Most recently, two campaigns have been conducted in March and April 2017 using the bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV). However, only limited coverage was possible through these campaigns.
  • Two outbreak response campaigns are planned covering both Deir-Al-Zour and Raqua, the first to commence on 22 July targeting 328,000 children aged less than five years in Deir-Al-Zour and 120,000 children in Raqua.
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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 information on the Syrian Arab Republic

Latest news

Planning and review documents from 2013 outbreak