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 (cVDPV). 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

  • No new cases of cVDPV2 were reported this week. The total number of cVDPV2 cases remains 63. All confirmed cases to date have had onset of paralysis before 25 August, 2017.
  • Almost 3,000 children under the age of 5 have received all scheduled routine immunization antigens in newly accessible areas of Deir Ez-Zor city. Volunteers ran opportunistic vaccination activities in the areas between 7 – 10 November.
  • This week the World Health Organization and the local Health Authority conducted a joint mission to visit newly accessible areas of Aleppo. The mission also met with the Aleppo University Hospital and Aleppo Pediatric Association to advocate for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and to support ongoing immunization activities to reach IDPs from infected areas.
  • Communication plans for the areas included in the bOPV/IPV subnational immunization days are being developed and strengthened to ensure that caregivers are highly aware of the upcoming campaigns.
  • Work continues to support the upgrade of laboratory facilities, expansion of environmental surveillance and training of laboratory and field staff. Training for lab staff will be conducted in early December to enable full implementation of new laboratory processes before the end of 2017.
  • Read the latest polio update from Syria to see information on cases, surveillance and vaccination campaigns.

International Health Regulations

Syria 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 the outbreak of cVDPV

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