Burundi declares polio emergency

Burundi has declared a national public health emergency after polio was detected in a 4-year-old and two other children who had been in contact with the child.

Polio is the first outbreak in Burundi in over 30 years. The landlocked African country is preparing vaccination campaigns for eligible children from newborn to 7 years of age. It will be ready in a few weeks.

In addition to children, health authorities detected five samples of poliomyelitis while monitoring waste, confirming the presence of circulating type 2 poliovirus. Early detection is very important to prevent the disease from developing.

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Type 2 infection can occur when an attenuated strain of the virus contained in the oral polio vaccine circulates for a long time in an under-immunized populations. This highly contagious disease is spread through contaminated water and food, or through contact with an infected person.

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