(Bloomberg) -- Mozambique has found a case of wild polio, the first in the country since 1992, just months after an infection was identified in neighboring Malawi, the World Health Organization said.
The case, identified in a child in the northeastern Tete province, is of the same strain as one that had been circulating since 2019 in Pakistan, which along with Afghanistan is the only nation where the paralysis-causing disease is endemic, the WHO said in a statement on Wednesday. The Malawian case was similar.
“The detection of another case of wild polio virus in Africa is greatly concerning,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa said in the statement. “It shows how dangerous this virus is and how quickly it can spread.”
Africa was declared polio free by the World Health Organization in 2020, with Nigeria having been the last nation on the continent where the disease had been endemic. As both cases in Mozambique and Malawi were of an imported strain it won’t affect the region’s polio-free certification.
Mozambique has, since the Malawian outbreak in February, vaccinated 4.2 million children against polio. There are plans to vaccinate 23 million children under five in the country and its neighbors in coming weeks, WHO said.
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