Polio Outbreaks Remain Global Health Risk in 2024
The 37th meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations on the international spread of poliovirus was convened on December 12, 2023.
The WHO's Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of the international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and recommended its extension and Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.
In 2022, the United States was added to this list of countries where polio was identified.
Previously, the WHO and UNICEF announced they are deploying over $1 billion in resources to eradicate polio and other childhood immunizations.
One global partner confirmed its role in this worldwide challenge to stop polio outbreaks.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) recently reconfirmed it has two goals within its current strategy: to interrupt all remaining transmission of endemic wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) and to stop all outbreaks of variant poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2).
The GPEI wrote on December 18, 2023.... 2023 was a critical year for progressing towards these goals.
Thanks to the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), strong political commitment, and community-based efforts to reach more children with the vaccine, the number of cases of cVDPV2 continued to decline in 2023.
Nearly 1 billion doses of the nOPV2 vaccine, a comparably safe, effective, but more genetically stable version of the existing type 2 oral polio vaccine, have now been administered across 35 countries, protecting millions of children from illness and paralysis.
Achieving and sustaining a polio-free world has proven more challenging and taken longer than anyone could have imagined.
But making history is never easy. With today's complexities, this (vaccination) program still inspires us to bring about the best in our humanity.
Thank you to all who have contributed to this effort so far and continue to do so. Let us double down and make the dream of a polio-free world a reality, wrote the GPEI.
To notify international travelers of their health risks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an updated Global Polio Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions Travel Health Notice on September 11, 2023, regarding polio outbreaks and poliovirus detections in 31 countries.
In the U.S., the IPV polio vaccine is indicated for active immunization of children and adults to prevent poliomyelitis caused by poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3. The IPV protects against both wild-type polio and the weakened poliovirus strain.
In 2023, booster doses of IPV were recommended for certain adults in the U.S.