Confirmed Cases of Polio in Republic of Congo

Last week, we reported a possible polio outbreak in Pointe-Noire, Congo where 8 deaths and 20 cases were suspected. This week, at least two confirmed cases of poliovirus Type I, 120 cases of acute flacid paralysis, and 58 deaths have been reported out of the region. Director-General of Health Alexis Dockekias described patients as presenting with flu-like symptoms, with paralysis beginning in the lower limbs and spreading to the upper limbs. Most of the cases have concentrated around the city of Pointe-Noire and have occurred in young adults ages 15 to 25 who are believed to not have been immunized at birth and thus completely susceptible to the disease. Guido Borghese, principal advisor for child survival and development for the UN’s West Africa office, believes the virus may have been imported from neighboring countries such as DR Congo or Angola and that the outbreak may be much more widespread. Plans are underway to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign to begin November 11th. The last indigenous case of polio was recorded for the Republic of Congo in 2000. 

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