Confirmation of one case in Guinea (date of paralysis: 5 June) and two cases in Mali (dates of paralysis: 15 May and 5 July) comes just two weeks after the resumption of polio immunization campaigns in the northern Nigerian state of Kano and re-affirms the need to urgently boost population immunity levels throughout the region. These new cases bring the number of previously polio-free countries to be re-infected since January 2003 to twelve.
Although similar campaigns in 2000 and 2001 had stopped polio transmission in most of these countries, civil unrest in
To give the upcoming campaigns the best possible chance of success, countries are being urged to step up surveillance for polio, increase routine immunization coverage and engage every level of society to support national immunization days.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The poliovirus is now endemic in only six countries, down from more than 125 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988.
The six remaining polio-endemic countries are:
The polio eradication coalition includes governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations (e.g. United Nations Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); development banks (e.g. the World Bank); donor governments (e.g. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America); the European Commission; humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations (e.g. the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies) and corporate partners (e.g. Aventis Pasteur, De Beers, Wyeth). Volunteers in developing countries play the central role; 20 million have participated in mass immunization campaigns.