Ethiopia recently detected a polio infection in a young child, the country's first case since 2008 and an event thought to be part of a growing outbreak across the Horn of Africa.
The case was detected in an 18-month-old child from the Warder district, which borders Somalia, where 108 polio infections have already been detected this year, according to the latest update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The illness involved wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1).
Carol Pandak, who leads Rotary International's polio eradication program, said the detection of a case in Ethiopia isn't surprising, the Voice of America (VOA) reported yesterday. "This area has been considered high risk because of its proximity to Somalia," she said.
The GPEI update also noted that eight new WPV1 cases have been reported over the past week in districts in Somalia that have already reported infections.
Health officials recently called Somalia's outbreak "explosive" because of a steep rise in cases that has even exceeded the number of cases seen in countries where the disease is endemic. Immunization teams there have reached about 4 million children since May, but have had problems reaching areas controlled by armed Islamist militants, according to earlier reports.
In May, when the first cases this year were detected in Somalia and Kenya, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the risk to neighboring countries was high because of large-scale population movements across the Horn of Africa. It urged all countries in the area to enhance their surveillance for the disease.