By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), on Thursday announced 395 new cases of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2, CMPV2 across 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
This is coming 16 months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) certified Nigeria Wild Poliovirus (WPV) free.
Persecondnews.com recalls that WHO in 2020, certified Nigeria and African Region WPV free following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCC), after the country reported its last case of WPV in 2016.
According to the NPHCDA, the CMPV2 outbreaks were caused by immunity gaps in children as a result of low routine immunization coverage and missing children during immunization campaigns.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said new tools and resources have been acquired to ensure the outbreaks are contained through robust outbreak responses using the novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2) which has been shown to be effective in halting the spread of the cMPV2.
“All 36 States and FCT have completed at least one nOPV2 Outbreak Response (OBR). Several other rounds of the OBR as well as other campaigns to improve the mucosal immunity of children aged O-5 years old using Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) have also been planned for this year.
“Efforts are also being ramped up to increase routine immunization coverage beyond pre-COVID values.
“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,” Shuaib explained.
He also said: “Also, malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty was also a predisposing factor in exposed children.
“These non-wild polioviruses which originated because of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses in the environment are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in many other countries.”
Shuaib assured Nigerians that the NPHCDA and its partners would continue to conduct surveillance and vaccination campaigns to prevent and contain any possible importation of WPV into the country.