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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 9, 2015

Ebola Hinders Polio Surveillance

JAMA. 2015;313(22):2214. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5717

Polio surveillance in countries affected by the Ebola virus decreased in 2014 compared with 2013, according to poliovirus surveillance data for Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean region, the 2 World Health Organization (WHO) regions with endemic wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission. Polio outbreaks occurred in the Horn of Africa, in Central Africa, and in the Middle East during 2013 to 2014.

Polio is tracked through surveillance for cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and testing AFP patients’ stool for WPV and vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in WHO-accredited laboratories. The quality of AFP surveillance is measured by 2 major indicators: the nonpolio AFP rate among children and teens younger than 15 years and having adequate stool specimens collected from at least 80% of AFP cases. Among the 23 African region countries that reported at least 1 WPV or circulating VDPV case during 2010 to 2014, 87% conducted adequate surveillance in 2013, but only 65% did so in 2014. Those without sufficient surveillance in 2014 were Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, and Senegal. In 2013, 5 of 6 Eastern Mediterranean region countries had satisfactory surveillance, and all 6 did in 2014 (Porter KA et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64[15]:415-420).

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