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Uganda confirms another Polio outbreak

By Winfrey Owino | August 18th 2021

The Ministry of Health Uganda has confirmed another polio outbreak in the country. [Courtesy]

The Ugandan Ministry of Health has declared a Public Health emergency after environmental samples in Kampala tested positive for Polio.

In a statement by the Ministry of Health dated August 17, Director General of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa says the samples were collected from sewage plants in Bugolobi and Lbigi, two major environmental survey sites in the capital.

“Results from the tests carried out at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) confirmed a circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type 2(cVDPV2). The virus detected has genetic linkage with a cVDPV2 strain reported in Sudan,” Ministry of Health said.

However, the ministry has attributed the resurgence of Polio in Uganda to a reduced immunisation routine in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Increased cross-border movements between countries from the Horn of Africa region currently affected by cVDPV2 outbreaks pose a risk of further Polio-importations to the country,” Dr Mwebesa said.

Dr Mwebesa added the Ministry of Health has heightened surveillance of Polio in the country by intensifying the search for Polio cases in all health facilities.

“I urge all Ugandans to report cases of all children under fifteen years with sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in the arms or legs and expansion of environmental surveillance,” his statement read in part.

The Ministry of Health will announce the specific dates for the vaccination campaign through various media outlets in the country.

Uganda was certified free of all Polioviruses in 2006.

However, its government alleges it has been under constant threat of Polio importation from other Polio-endemic countries in the region, as seen in 2009 and 2010 when Polio importations were reported in Mayuge and Bugiri respectively.

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