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 circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) were reported this week.
  • The most recent case (by date of onset) was reported in Boukamal district, with onset on 21 September 2017.
  • The total number of officially reported cVDPV2 cases in Syria in 2017 remains 74. There are no cases reported in 2018.
  • Environmental surveillance has been ongoing in Syria since December 2017. So far, results are available for five samples (four from Damascus and one from Deir Ez Zor governorate), with no isolation of VDPV2.
  • An inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) immunization round has successfully concluded in Damascus and Hasakah governorates, parts of Aleppo governorate and Jurmana district of rural Damascus as part of the second phase of the outbreak response. A total of 233,518 children aged 2-23 months received IPV, representing 71% of the estimated target. Activities are ongoing in accessible areas of Aleppo governorate.
  • A total of 1,456 children under 5 years have received mOPV2 in Hasakah governorate during the IPV vaccination round, as part of special strategies to reach children who were missed by mOPV2 vaccination in January.
  • Read the latest polio update from Syria to see information on cases, surveillance and vaccination campaigns.
  • Learn more about vaccine-derived polioviruses through this short animation or this ‘Coffee with Polio Experts’ video.

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 this outbreak of cVDPV in the Syrian Arab Republic

More on vaccine-derived polioviruses

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