Certification commission assesses measures implemented by Tajikistan to interrupt transmission of imported wild poliovirus type 1



July 2, 2010 - WHO 



The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe held the 23rd Meeting of the European Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 28–29 June 2010, the World Health Organization reported.


An independent panel of international public health experts, the Commission is responsible for monitoring the polio-free status of the WHO European Region.  


Twelve years after the last indigenous case was reported, the European Region is threatened by a resurgence of wild poliovirus.  At its meeting, the Commission assessed the epidemiological situation and the control measures implemented by Tajikistan to interrupt the transmission of imported wild poliovirus type 1 in 2010.


“This first importation of polio, since the Region was certified as polio free, reminds us how fragile progress is,” said Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, as she opened the Meeting. “The only way to protect our population, our children, is to reach and sustain high coverage with polio vaccines and to keep surveillance systems functioning well. I would especially like to highlight the need to reach vulnerable populations to reduce any gaps in immunity.”


On April 23, 2010, the WHO Regional Reference Laboratory in Moscow confirmed wild poliovirus type 1 as the cause of the polio outbreak in Tajikistan.  As of June 28, Tajikistan had reported 334 laboratory-confirmed cases with wild poliovirus type 1, including 15 deaths (4.49%).


In response to the outbreak, Tajikistan has conducted four rounds of national immunization days (NIDs): two for children aged under 6 years and two for children and adolescents aged under 15.  The WHO Regional Office for Europe continues to update Member States and partners through letters to ministers, chief medical officers and partners; information on its web site; and situation reports covering risk assessment, the epidemiological situation and response actions.