In central Africa, a new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case was reported in Equatorial Guinea. In total, three cases have now been reported from the country; genetic sequencing indicates the cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon. Outbreak response in the country is currently being planned.
On 17 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) had elevated the risk assessment of international spread of polio from Cameroon to ‘very high’. The risk assessment was elevated due to: confirmation of additional WPV1 cases from three new regions of Cameroon confirming continued WPV transmission and geographic expansion of infected areas following detection of four cases in October 2013; gaps in surveillance; and, influx of vulnerable refugee populations from Central African Republic.
Immunity levels and surveillance sensitivity are also being assessed in neighbouring countries, in particular in Gabon and the Republic of Congo, and additional immunization activities are being planned in these countries for May.