Polio cases in Nigeria double
As of 30th August, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reports 746 polio cases have occurred in Nigeria in 2006, compared to 349 cases for the same period in 2005. Most polio cases in the world are occurring in Nigeria. WHO estimates that in the five northern states of Nigeria (Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina) which have the highest rates of polio, 40% of children are non-immune.
Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only four countries in the world which are still polio-endemic. This is an all-time low. In addition to the endemic countries, nine countries have reported polio cases in 2006 due to importations - Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Namibia, Niger, Nepal and DR Congo.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative the five remaining challenges to a polio-free world are:
- Curbing the intense transmission in the high-priority states in Northern Nigeria and western Uttar Pradesh, India
- Sustaining campaigns to break the final polio chains in the other two endemic countries
- Rapidly stopping polio outbreaks in previously polio-free countries
- Addressing the low routine immunisation rates and surveillance gaps in polio-free areas
- Maintaining funding and political committment.
For more information on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative click here.