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#Health

It has been a year since a polio case was reported in Africa

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that it has been a year since a case of wild polio was registered in Africa – an important achievement towards being a polio-free continent.

Though this achievement isn’t an official milestone towards gaining the polio-free continent status, WHO acknowledged that the continent is making great progress in this area. August 11, 2014 was the day when the last case of wild polio was reported in central Somalia and since then no cases have been reported.

Nigeria has been polio-free for over a year with the last case registered in the country on July 24, 2014. According to WHO, if continued lab results over the course of next few weeks confirm no new cases in the country, and if the WHO African Region then goes 2 more years without a case of wild polio in the face of strong surveillance, Nigeria could be certified polio-free by the Africa Regional Certification Commission.

In a Horn of Africa outbreak assessment completed in June 2015, an assessment team concluded that transmission in Kenya and Ethiopia has also been interrupted. Undetected low level transmission in Somalia cannot be ruled out, the team concluded, and outbreak response activities are continuing throughout the country.

A polio-free Africa would leave only 2 countries where polio transmission has never been interrupted: Pakistan and Afghanistan.