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

  • In Syria, one new type 2 circulating vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV2) case was reported from Mayadeen district, Deir-Ez-Zour governorate.  This brings the total number of cases in this outbreak to 40. Onset of paralysis of these cases is between 3 March and 13 July.
  • The bulk of all cases are from Mayadeen, the epicentre of this outbreak.
  • Confirmation of additional cases is not unexpected at this time and does not change the operational situation, as outbreak response plans are implemented, in line with internationally-agreed outbreak response protocols.
  • The second immunization round for Deir-Ez-Zor was completed on 28 August.  Monovalent OPV2 was provided for children between 0-59 months of age, and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) for children 2-23 months.
  • Read the latest polio update/situation report here.

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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