Status: affected by wild poliovirus type 1

As a result of ongoing disease surveillance, the Global Polio Laboratory Network confirmed the presence of WPV1 in a 3 year old child from Lilongwe, the capital. Analysis shows that the virus is genetically linked to WPV1 that was detected in Pakistan’s Sindh province in October 2019. This is the first WPV1 case from the continent of Africa in over five years.

As an imported case from Pakistan, this detection does not affect the WHO African Region’s wild poliovirus-free certification status officially marked in August 2020. Malawi last recorded a case of wild poliovirus in 1992. The polio eradication programme has seen importations from endemic countries to regions that have been certified wild poliovirus-free in the past, and has moved quickly to successfully stop transmission of the virus in these areas.

Polio this week in Malawi

  • No case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was reported this week. One case from 2021 has been reported this year.
  • Two cVDPV1 cases were reported in the Southern province making them the first in the country.
  • Malawi continues to participate in the multi-country, subregional outbreak response, to urgently stop the WPV1 outbreak affecting the area.

WHO advice

As per the advice of an Emergency Committee convened under the International Health Regulations (2005), the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Countries affected by poliovirus transmission are subject to temporary recommendations. To comply with the Temporary Recommendations issued under the PHEIC, any country infected by poliovirus should declare the outbreak as a national public health emergency, ensure the vaccination of residents and long-term visitors and restrict at the point of departure travel of individuals, who have not been vaccinated or cannot prove the vaccination status.

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.

Situation Reports