KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 – The world has now been declared to be free from the type 3 polio virus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Previously, WHO had announced that the type 2 virus had been successfully eliminated four years ago. However, the type 1 strain is still circulating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It has been seven years since the last case of type 3 polio was detected in northern Nigeria.
Since then, experts from the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, of which the WHO is a member, have watched patterns of polio cases to be certain that type 3 has been eradicated.
“Countries must strengthen routine immunisation to protect communities, ramp up routine surveillance so that we are able to detect even the slightest risk of polio re-emerging and ensure the timeliness and quality of outbreak response in the event that a case is detected,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said, according to the BBC.
“This job is not finished until wild polio virus type 1 is globally eradicated, along with concerning outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio virus.”
Cases of wild polio have dropped by 99% since 1988.
The declaration that type 2 had been wiped out was made in 2015, 16 years after the last case was recorded in India.