Acute flaccid paralysis case under investigation in Venezuela

In response to media reports about a polio case in Venezuela which emerged last week, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) wishes to clarify that these reports cannot be confirmed at this time.

An acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case, a symptom which is caused by a number of different diseases (polio being just one of them), is currently being investigated.  The child is 34 months old, and had onset of paralysis on 29 April, from an under-immunized community in Orinoco delta, Delta Amacura state.

A Sabin type 3 poliovirus was isolated from stool samples of the AFP case, and is being further analysed, including to determine if the paralysis was caused by the isolated strain. Final laboratory results are expected next week.

Isolation of Sabin 3 poliovirus is not unusual, and can be expected in children and communities immunized with bivalent oral polio vaccine, which contains both attenuated type 1 and type 3 Sabin strains.  As part of global polio surveillance efforts, every year more than 100,000 AFP cases are detected and investigated worldwide.

WHO’s Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the GPEI continue to support local public health authorities in conducting an epidemiological and field investigation into this event.