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Declaration of the Poliomyelitis epidemic due to the poliovirus


Mar 21, 2023

BUJUMBURA March 21st (ABP) – The Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, Dr Sylvie Nzeyimana, declared on Sunday March 19, 2023, an epidemic of Poliomyelitis due to the poliovirus. Through that statement, she recalled that acute poliomyelitis is a disease caused by the poliomyelitis virus and which is responsible for permanent paralysis of the limbs. It mainly affects children, hence its name, ‘infantile paralysis’.

The virus is transmitted by ingestion of contaminated water or food, says Dr. Nzeyimana.

As of March 13, 2023, the Global Polio Laboratory Network has confirmed 3 cases of poliovirus in Burundi. A case in a 4-year-old child who had not received any vaccination against poliomyelitis in Isare district, Bujumbura province, and two contacts of the same case.

According to the Minister of Public Health, the analysis of samples from the collection of wastewaters, environmental monitoring showed the presence of poliovirus in 5 samples, including three from the sites of Northern Bujumbura City Council and two from Central Bujumbura City. The results of virus sequencing in the laboratory indicate six to twelve nucleotidic changes linked to cases from the DRC. In reference to the International Health Regulations (IHR) of 2005, a single confirmed case of poliomyelitis constitutes an epidemic, according to her remarks.

Faced with this situation, the government of Burundi and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (MEP) have already taken certain measures. She cited the epidemiological and social investigation, the assessment of the risk of the epidemic spreading, the strengthening of the epidemiological surveillance of poliomyelitis. In order to stop the circulation of the virus and to prevent Burundian children from being paralyzed, the measures mentioned above must be supplemented by the establishment of a poliomyelitis epidemic management unit with the designation impending an incident manager to coordinate the response, organizing response vaccination campaigns in children aged 0 to 7 years as quickly as possible.

The Minister of Public Health took the opportunity to reassure the people of Burundi that Burundi remains faithful to its commitment to join the global initiative for the eradication of polio and is determined through the Ministry of public health and the fight against AIDS, to quickly stop the epidemic.

Sequencing of the viruses in the laboratory indicated that the said viruses were imported from the DRC.