Polio cases rise to 3 

Source: Polio cases rise to 3 –Newsday Zimbabwe

TWO more polio cases have been recorded, bringing to three since the country recorded its first case in Sanyati in December last year.

Speaking during a media briefing in Harare yesterday, Polio incident manager Colline Chigodo said the cases were discovered after they carried intense surveillance and testing in four areas around Harare where they discovered the cases.

She said the cases were asymptomatic, meaning the children who tested positive had no signs of having polio which usually results in weakness of limbs.

“During the course of last year, we started to detect this circulating vaccine derived polio virus at four sites in Harare,” said Chigodo.

“The four sites where we are collecting from include Budiriro, Mbare, Sunningdale and Crowborough. The country has been collecting these specimens to our virology lab, and these specimens are sent to South Africa,” she said.

She said the cases are an early warning that there are more polio cases in the country.

“In December, there was one case detected, of a child with the weakness of limp, which was detected in Sanyati district. In this case, two specimens were collected, and this specimen tested positive for circulating vaccine derived polio virus.

“This is the confirmation that now the virus is circulating among our communities. In addition to that, during the initial investigation within these four sites, specimens were also collected from healthy children, 20 specimens from each site.”

“From those sites, two cases, two healthy children tested positive. We recently received the results on Friday last week. They tested positive on circulating vaccine derived polio virus type 2, but these are healthy children.

“Now the virus, the circulating vaccine derived polio virus or wild polio virus can be asymptomatic. It means that someone can carry the virus without having that paralysis. So out of, let’s say, 200 children, if one case tested positive, it means there are about 199 cases which are asymptomatic, which don’t have the signs and symptoms of weakness in our communities,” she said.

The cases have prompted a major vaccination campaign countrywide from today till Friday this week. Harare will be vaccinated next week from February 26 to 29.

A second round of vaccination will commence three weeks from now.

“Staff has been trained to provide these oral drops to the children, advocacy and communication activities are being conducted in all the provinces. Also our honourable deputy minister has also launched this exercise through the press briefing last week,” she added.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has supported MoHCC with 200 000 posters with varied key messages in local languages, 10 000 aprons, 2,1 million vaccination cards, 110 000 summary sheets, 220 000 tally sheets, 10 000 sun hats, 10 000 pocket guides, 5 500 pocket guide, 2 000 megaphones, 500 polio ID cards for independent monitors and LQAS surveyors, and 500 banners to build awareness on polio vaccination among the communities.

“Guided by the social ecological model and insights from the social investigations reports, Unicef printed 600 000 fact sheets for each target audience (health workers, community influencers and caregivers). Unicef also printed 500.000 parents notice to raise awareness,” a statement from Unicef read.