Angola Becomes Another Polio Hot-Spot

Polio vaccinations scheduled for over 5 million children in Angola
polio vaccine 2024
WHO oral polio vaccinations - Angola May 2024
Angola (Precision Vaccinations News)

The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa recently confirmed that the African country of Angola had been free of wild poliovirus since July 2011 and declared the interruption of polio transmission in November 2015.

Unfortunately, Angola recently reported a concerning development in early 2024.

Four cases of Poliovirus Type 2 have been detected in environmental samples of sewage water collected in two provinces. Additionally, two cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) have been reported in early May 2024.

These AFP cases are the first in Angola since the 2019-2020 outbreak, which recorded 124 cases.

Furthermore, 36 potential AFP cases are awaiting classification by the National Committee of Polio Experts, which may or may not be related to the polio virus.

On May 17, 2024, the WHO indicated that this polio outbreak is not just a concern; it's a call to action. These AFP cases underscore the urgency of the national polio vaccination campaign and the danger of continued poliovirus transmission among children.

Nationwide, the government has identified 5,549,140 children under the age of five in need of polio vaccination. The next-generation nOPV2 vaccine, administered over 1 billion times, is now being offered in Africa. 

'Vaccinating our children is not just a public health measure but, more than that, it is a commitment to the progress and prosperity of our country,' said the Secretary of State for Public Health, Dr. Carlos Alberto Pinto de Sousa, said in a press release.

"This is a crucial step in maintaining our polio-free status and ensuring the health and future of our children."

The risk of outbreak spread is high in Angola, with less than 60% of children having immunity to poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3.

The Government of Angola has classified three out of 18 provinces as high-risk. This population group includes children under five years old, unvaccinated individuals, or those who have received fewer doses of polio vaccines, particularly in urban areas and areas with poor water and sanitation infrastructure.

According to the WHO and other organizations, polio remains endemic in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries, including the United States, remain at risk of polio importation.

On May 23, 2024, the U.S. CDC confirmed that 34 countries pose oplio risks to international travelers. Before any international travel, make sure you are up to date on your polio vaccines, says the CDC.

In the U.S., polio vaccines are offered at health clinics and pharmacies.

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee

Article by
Donald Hackett