Polio outbreak in Myanmar


An outbreak of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) has been confirmed in Myanmar, with two new cases confirmed in the past week. The most recent reported case was isolated from a 15-month old child in Rakhine, with onset of paralysis on 15 October. The case is genetically linked to a VDPV isolated in the same village earlier in the year, which has now been reclassified as a cVDPV type 2.

The re-classified strain had been originally isolated from a 28-month old child, with onset of paralysis on 16 April. The genetic changes of the isolate detected in April suggest that the cVDPV2 had already been circulating for more than one year.

The Ministry of Health of Myanmar is planning and implementing an urgent outbreak response.

Significant immunisation gaps remain in Myanmar, with an estimated 24% of children un- or under-immunized. Vaccination coverage remains particularly low among special at-risk populations. National surveillance rates are strong yet subnational gaps persist.

While WHO assesses the risk of international spread to be low, surveillance and immunization activities are being strengthened in neighbouring countries.

All individuals travelling to Myanmar should ensure that they are fully vaccinated.

For more information go to the Polio Eradication page