Wild poliovirus in China
China off the list of countries with active polio outbreaks
China's strong response to the introduction and spread of wild poliovirus in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2011 has resulted in an important milestone, when China was removed from the list of countries with active polio outbreaks on 10 April 2012. Despite intensive surveillance, no new poliovirus infections have been detected for more than 6 months in Xinjiang since the onset of the last polio case on 9 October 2011, after 4 rounds of mass immunization between September 2011 and March 2012.
To sustain complete interruption of wild poliovirus circulation in Xinjiang, China is conducting a 5th large scale immunization campaign beginning 16 April 2012. Children under 15 years in the whole province and adults under 40 years in the five southern prefectures are targeted with trivalent oral poliovaccine (tOPV).
Vice Minister of Health Dr Yin Li - during his 4th visit to Xinjiang for the polio outbreak response - reviewed the preparation for this April vaccination campaign and discussed future work to strengthen surveillance and routine immunization with local government and health officials. The Vice Minister also visited Aksu prefecture for field monitoring and met with representatives of WHO and UNICEF.
It remains critical to maintain high population immunity and quality disease surveillance, to minimize the risk and consequences of any further potential wild poliovirus importations. WHO strongly recommends such vigilance in all countries in the Western Pacific Region.