Papua New Guinea: East Sepik reports another polio total 15

12 Oct, 2018
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THE deadly polio virus continues to spread – this time affecting a one-year-old girl in East Sepik Province.

This brings to 15 the number of cases in Papua New Guinea since June and a national public health emergency declaration.

Five polio cases have been reported in Eastern Highlands Province, three in Morobe, two in Enga, two in Madang, one in Port Moresby, one in Jiwaka and this one in East Sepik Province.

According to the Health Department and the World Health Organisation, the latest case involved a girl from Assagamut village in Angoram district who had paralysis of the left leg, associated with fever, headache and muscle pain.

She was taken to Assagamut Health Centre where stools were collected for laboratory testing.

The confirmation was made last week by the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory, a WHO collaborating centre in Australia.

Based on the genetic analysis, the case is linked to the ongoing polio outbreak.

As the national polio campaign continues, Australia announced yesterday that it was contributing K14.38 million to fight the disease while Australia’s visiting Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Marise Payne is expected to visit a health clinic today and view at first hand Australia’s support to combat the outbreak of polio and other infectious diseases.

Angoram district health manager Raymond Pohonai said the district has vaccinated more than 15,000 in one week.

“We might not reach all the villages in the district within the remaining 10 days because some of the villages are in the remotest locations where there is no access to roads,” he said.

Parents’ caregivers nationwide are urged to ensure all children from birth to 15 years of age are vaccinated in order to protect them from this deadly disease.

The health department has enhanced surveillance system and continuously receives reports of suspected acute flaccid paralysis.

According to WHO, the identification of these cases highlights the risk of polio in children less than 15 years of age.

WHO country representative Dr Luo Dapeng said children can be protected from polio only with vaccination.

“Given substantial vaccination coverage gaps across the country, the risk of further spread of polio within the country continues to be classified as high,” he said.

The health department is calling on parents to bring every child less than 15 years of age to the nearest health center or vaccination point for polio drops.

Children will need to receive multiple doses of oral polio vaccine, irrespective of previous immunisation status.

The vaccine is safe, free and has a unique ability to stop person-to-person spread of the virus.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 11:39 am and is filed under Latest News.

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