Outbreak Response and Vaccine Deployment
After eliminating all three virus types from the continent, Africa was declared free of wild-type poliovirus in August 2020. However, in February 2022, a single paralysis case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was confirmed in a young, unvaccinated child in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. This was the first wild poliovirus case in Africa in over five years and the first in Malawi since 1992. By the end of 2022, eight more cases were reported in neighboring Mozambique. CDC headquarters (HQ) deployed polio response staff to Tanzania to support the country office, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministries of Health in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s efforts.
Response activities focused on strengthening supplemental immunization activities targeting children under 5 years of age, enhancing acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, and polio sensitization among community members and health care workers. CDC staff supported acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance by training and deploying ten FELTP residents in five affected regions who visited 109 health facilities, and sensitized over 600 healthcare workers. CDC HQ deployed 16 polio subject matter experts to give technical support during the government mass polio vaccination campaigns. Through CDC support, more than 1 million children were reached in the first vaccination campaign, 12 million children in the second campaign, 14.5, million children in the third campaign, and 17 million children in the fourth campaign.