The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (NPHCDA), on Thursday revealed that 395 new cases of the circulating Mutant PolioVirus Type 2, (cMPV2) have been recorded across the 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
This setback comes 16 months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) certified Nigeria free of the Wild PolioVirus (WPV) in August 2020.
The disclosure was made in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib.
According to the statement, the poliovirus outbreak has been traced to immunity gaps caused by the suspension of the immunisation programme as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We currently have 395 cases of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (across 27 states and the FCT. Nigeria and the African region were certified Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free in 2020, following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication which spanned three years of no detection of WPV. To date, there has been no case of WPV anywhere in the country.
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“CMPV2 outbreaks are caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage, and missing children during immunization campaigns. The suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programmes in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunisation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps which led to new and wider outbreaks and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria.
“The viruses thrive in areas with poor sanitation, open defecation, and inadequate access to clean drinking water. These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal.
Dr Shuaib further revealed the NPHCDA is working with its development partners on strategies to contain the polio outbreak through robust responses, such as the use of the oral polio vaccine which has shown success in halting the spread of the mutated poliovirus.
“All 36 States and FCT have completed at least one nOPV2 Outbreak Response. Several other rounds of the OBR, as well as other campaigns to improve the mucosal immunity of children aged 0-5 years old using Injectable Polio Vaccine, have also been planned for this year. Efforts are also being ramped up to increase routine immunization coverage beyond pre-COVID values.”