A wild polio virus (WPV) outbreak was reported in Somalia on 18 April 2013, the country’s first case since 25 March 2007. A surveillance alert, highlighting the need for urgent active searches for additional cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and suspect polio in all health facilities, was issued for all of Somalia and bordering areas of northern Kenya and eastern Ethiopia.
Polio (poliomyelitis) is an acute, faecal-oral, contagious and infectious viral infection that causes infantile paralysis. The paralytic (symptomatic) form enters the bloodstream causing severe and debilitating nervous and muscle attack, leading to breathing and respiratory problems as well as paralysis of arms and legs.
In Kenya, two positive cases were identified in Hagadera camp. The potential risk for in-camp transmission is high considering inter camps movements by refugees, as well as in surrounding host communities, and in the neighbouring urban centres including Garrisa and border towns of Wajir, Mandera, Tana River and Isiolo. Nairobi county districts are also at risk as refugees relocate to Nairobi and those who are on transit to a third country stay in Nairobi during the processing time.
Kenya Red Cross, with support from IFRC’s DREF, aims to support the first two rounds of emergency polio vaccinations carried out in-country in the districts of Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Nairobi and Turkana through targeted social mobilization and awareness raising campaigns, combined with pre-registration of targeted children and necessary logistics support, to complement government efforts to contain this outbreak.
This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and is expected to be completed by 30 August 2013. A final report will be made available three months after the end of the operation, by 30 November 2013.