Health authorities in Malawi have declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after a case was detected in the state capital.
According to the World Health Organisation, the wild polio outbreak emerged for the first time in five years.
The global heath body also said it was giving its assistance to the health authorities in Malawi, carrying out a risk assessment and outbreak response as well as deploying the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) rapid response team.
“The last case of wild polio virus in Africa was identified in northern Nigeria in 2016 and globally there were only five cases in 2021. Any case of wild polio virus is a significant event and we will mobilize all resources to support the country’s response,” said Modjirom Ndoutabe, polio coordinator in the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
Polio is a highly infectious and debilitating disease that is usually spread through contaminated water or food. Invading the nervous system, it can cause total paralysis within hours.