UNICEF and partners launch emergency funding appeal for polio outbreak in Congo

polio-outbreakUNICEF, Rotary International and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched an emergency appeal for $23.5 million in funding in response to the explosive polio outbreak in the Republic of Congo. Stopping the outbreak is a top international public health priority due to its high fatality rate and the high risk of further national and international spread.
As of 16 November, 324 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and 146 deaths have been reported from the site of the outbreak centred in Pointe Noire. Five cases have been confirmed to have been caused by wild poliovirus type 1 and laboratory testing continues. Initial data indicates the majority of the reported cases and deaths involve young adults aged 15-29 years. Nearly all cases have been reported from the port city of Pointe Noire, with cases also reported from Niari, Bouenza, Brazzaville, and Kouilou. New cases continue to be reported.
Genetic sequencing has determined that the polio cases are caused by a poliovirus most closely related to that circulating in neighbouring Angola. Congo had recorded its last case of indigenous polio in 2000.
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