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PNG reports first case of Polio in 22 years

Poliovirus was confirmed in a 6-year-old boy from the Morobe Province, PNG, at the end of April this year. This is the first confirmed case of Polio to have arisen in PNG in 22 years, with the last known case for the country reported in 1996.

Since the case confirmation, the National Department of Health of Papua New Guinea (NDOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed finding the same strain of the virus found in the boy to be circulating in the community. Prevention is the immediate priority of the NDOH, as ‘the immediate steps include conducting large-scale immunization campaigns and strengthening surveillance systems that help detect the virus early’. Approximately only 61% of children in the Province are properly vaccinated for Polio.

“WHO 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.”

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