Wild polio in Africa

This item appears on page 5 of the April 2022 issue.

The first case of wild polio identified in Africa since 2020 was found in a 3-year-old girl in Malawi. The continent was declared polio-free in 2020 after it had been five years since the last identified case, in Nigeria, was resolved. Malawian authorities are increasing vaccination in the area and isolating anyone exposed, to limit the infection.

Wild polio is endemic to only two countries in the world: Pakistan and Afghanistan. Testing of the Malawi infection showed that it was related to the strain found in Pakistan. Authorities do not know how it arrived in Malawi.