Posted by Bill Boyd on Oct 16, 2018

One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio
24 October

With your help, Rotary and its partners can end polio for good.

Before I give you the position as at October 10 you should have a couple of definitions.

Vaccine derived polio occurs when the overall immunisation levels fall in a country where routine vaccinations are still being carried out. The Sabin vaccine we use is attenuated rather than a killed virus and occasionally infects an unprotected child. The outbreaks of cVDPV are localised and can be quickly controlled but are sad for the children infected and soak up resources. When we eradicate the wild polio virus, cVDPV will disappear.

Environmental sampling means collecting samples from sewage and creeks and rivers that may contain fecal matter. The samples are analysed in a laboratory and indicate if polio virus is still circulating. Most Kiwis would not regard sample collection as an attractive job!

The total number of wild polio cases for 2018 [as at October 10] is 19. Of these 15 are from Afghanistan and 4 from Pakistan. The total number of cases in 2017 was 22. Nigeria is still on the endemic list but the last case of wild virus there was reported on 21 August 2016.

Last week there were no positive samples from Afghanistan but 10 from Pakistan.

cVDPV is circulating more widely. There have been cases reported this year in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Papua New Guinea and Niger. The cases in Niger had come over the border from Nigeria. There have been 61 cases this year as against 96 last year. To appreciate how these outbreaks can be controlled, there were 47 cases in Syria last year but none this year.

As an indication of the mentality of some of the people we are dealing with, the Boko Harum, the Islamic rebels in Borno State of Nigeria who kidnapped those hundreds of schoolgirls, are bringing their children out of the territory they control to be immunised but will not allow vaccinators in to immunise others. The Nigerian Army response is the conduct of “hit and run” raids to clear areas and to give vaccinators 24 hours to immunise as many children as possible.

Donate to End Polio

Every donation helps Rotary and its partners obtain the vaccines, transport and materials needed in the fight against polio and reach every child with the polio vaccine. Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, your contribution will be tripled, getting us even closer to a polio-free world.