Polio Outbreaks April 2023

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Last reviewed
April 1, 2023
Content Overview
Poliovirus continues spreading in April 2023. Polio is a vaccine preventable disease according to the U.S. CDC.

Polio Outbreaks April 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on February 2, 2023, the spread of poliovirus remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Therefore, the WHO's International Travel and Health recommends travelers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, residents (and visitors for more than four weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within four weeks to 12 months of travel. 

Separately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on March 22, 2023, the Global Polio risk continues to be an international concern.

European Polio Conference May 2023

The European Polio Conference will be held on 25-27 May in Nancy, France. This congress, organized by Polio-France in cooperation with the European Polio Union, will not be a congress like any other. This congress is aimed at people with polio and post-polio syndrome from all over the world and health professionals concerned with polio and post-polio syndrome management. On March 10, 2023, Member States reiterated the importance of focusing on zero-dose children and strengthening routine immunization and surveillance in countries that are polio-free and those that currently have polioviruses.

Peru Polio March 2023

The PAHO/WHO Epidemiological Polio Update published March 23, 2023, confirmed the Peru IHR National Focal Point notified a confirmed case of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (acute flaccid paralysis). The case is a 16-month-old child belonging to an indigenous community in the Manseriche district in the Datem del Marañón province of the Loreto department, with no history of vaccination or travel history before the onset of symptoms.

Israel Polio March 2023

As of March 7, 2023, there have been reports of (4) VDPV3-positive polio cases in children during 2023. On March 2, 2023, the Israel Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three additional children tested positive for poliovirus on Twitter. On February 27, 2023, the Israel MOH issued an official alert describing a local case of Acute flaccid paralysis (AFP).

In 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Health reported a vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3 (VDPV3) outbreak in sewage in the Jerusalem area and a clinical case of paralysis in a child. In addition, the International Health Regulations National Focal Point for Israel notified the WHO of the detection of the cVDPV3 virus isolated from an AFP case in the Country on March 7, 2022. In response, Isreal launched the Two-Drops OPV vaccination program in April 2022.

The Israel Pediatric Association, the umbrella organization for The Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association and Israel Society for Clinical Pediatrics — released a position paper in March 2023 outlining what it said were the reasons for the outbreak and the steps needed to curb it. The paper said that first priority was identifying and vaccinating the 175,922 Israeli children who have not received any doses of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) or OPV doses. Israeli children are advised to receive 5 IPV and 2 OPV doses.

United Kingdom Poliovirus

Between February and June 2022, multiple vaccine-like-type-2 poliovirus isolates were collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. The WHO formally confirmed that the UK has a 'circulating' VDPV2 and evidence that the poliovirus detected in London is genetically linked to Israel and New York. The UKHSA National Polio Guidelines outline public health actions when a cVDPV2 is detected in environmental samples.

Pakistan Polio Outbreak

As of March 2023, Pakistan's Polio Eradication Program was actively offering vaccination services. In addition, one WPV1-positive environmental sample was reported in Punjab in 2023. In 2022, there were 20 WPV1 cases reported, and about 14 million children were vaccinated with an OPV. 

Africa Polio Outbreaks 2023

The U.S. CDC included Africa in its Global Polio travel alert issued on March 22, 2023. Circulating poliovirus type 2 is the most prevalent form of polio in Africa, and outbreaks of this type of poliovirus are the highest reported in the region, with more than 400 cases reported in 14 countries in 2022. Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed seven vaccine breakthrough cases in March 2023. Burundi declared on March 17, 2023, a national public health emergency response to an outbreak of circulating poliovirus type 2.

In February 2023, the UN Foundation published recommendations for governments, the WHO, and UNICEF for polio transition priority countries in Africa. Since then, over 33 million children across five southern African countries have been vaccinated against the virus, with over 80 million vaccine doses administered over the past year. In 2021, the median vaccination coverage was 81.5% for the third dose of the polio vaccine.  

Polio Vaccines

As of April 2023, various polio vaccines are available worldwide.

Polio Outbreak News 2023

March 29, 2023 - Additional polioviruses this week: Afghanistan: one WPV1-positive environmental sample; Central African Republic: five cVDPV2) cases; Chad: two cVDPV2 cases; DR Congo: 11 cVDPV1 cases and 22 cVDPV2 cases; Madagascar:  three cVDPV1-positive environmental samples; Nigeria: two cVDPV2-positive environmental samples.

March 22, 2023 - The Global polio outbreak travel notice was updated by the U.S. CDC.

March 17, 2023 - The WHO confirmed the Burundian government plans to implement a polio vaccination campaign to protect eligible children against poliovirus.

March 16, 2023 - The GPEI reported seven children were confirmed with AFP in African countries. 

March 10, 2023 - The New York State Department of Health informed New Yorkers traveling to Israel and other countries with circulating poliovirus to ensure they are fully immunized against polio.

March 7, 2023 - The U.S. CDC reissued its global polio travel alert.

March 1, 2023 - GPEI reported new poliovirus detections. 

February 12, 2023 - The PolioVaccinationUG campaign in Kampala, Uganda, targeting children aged five years and below, is scheduled for mid-February 2023.

February 2, 2023 - Eurosurveillance reported researchers in The Netherlands described a WPV3 detection in November 2022 in wastewater surveillance surrounding a polio lab in Bilthoven

February 1, 2023 - GPEI reported Central African Republic: one cVDPV2 case; Chad: seven cVDPV2 cases and one positive environmental sample; Indonesia: one cVDPV2 case; Nigeria: one cVDPV2 case; Yemen: one cVDPV2 case.

January 25, 2023 - New reports confirmed: Afghanistan: three WPV1 positive environmental samples, Pakistan: one WPV1 positive environmental sample, Botswana: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample, Canada: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples, Malawi: one cVDPV1 case, Mozambique: one cVDPV1 case, and Nigeria: six cVDPV2 positive environmental samples.

January 18, 2023 - Summary of new polioviruses this week: Afghanistan: two WPV1 positive environmental samples; Algeria: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample; Cameroon: one cVDPV2 case; Chad: two cVDPV2 cases; DR Congo: 16 cVDPV1 cases and 19 cVDPV2 cases; Nigeria: one cVDPV2 case; Somalia: one cVDPV2 case; Zambia: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples.

January 12, 2023 - The WHO published an Outbreak at a glance - Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 - Sudan.