Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Poliomyelitis in Kenya

19 October 2006

One case of wild poliovirus type-1, due to an importation of virus from neighbouring Somalia, has been reported from a Somali refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. The 3-year old girl (who was born in Kenya and had not traveled to Somalia) had onset of paralysis on 17 September 2006. The case is in the district of Garissa in North Eastern Province bordering Somalia, where an outbreak of poliomyelitis has resulted in 216 cases to date since July 2005. Genetic sequencing indicates a virus of Nigerian origin, imported from Kismayo, Somalia; however, it is not possible to determine how long the virus has been circulating in Kenya. A joint national/international rapid response team is conducting a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation.

Emergency, sub-national mop-up vaccinations with monovalent type-1 oral poliovirus vaccine (mOPV1) are scheduled for northeastern Kenya for 3 November, covering 250,000 children in Kenya and coordinated with Somalia and Ethiopia. The next round in December may be expanded to include Nairobi and other high-risk areas.

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