Wild poliovirus in China
WPV update 2
22 SEPTEMBER 2011 - Chinese authorities continue to respond swiftly to a polio outbreak in western China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The initial immunization campaign of 8-12 September targeted 3.8 million children. Vaccination was expanded to persons 15 to 39 years old after polio was identified in adults. To date, 10 polio cases have been reported — six in children under three years old and four in young adults. One person has died.
Hotan Prefecture targeted around 1 million people from 13 September onwards. Vaccination of approximately 4.5 million people 15 to 39 years old in other prefectures of southern Xinjiang (Aksu, Bazhou, Kashgar and Kezhou) will commence on 23 September.
The polio immunization campaigns go house to house and to kindergartens, schools, workplaces, markets, bus stations and airports to ensure that no one misses the vaccine. In China, children are marked with indelible ink behind their ears as a way of tracking whether they have been vaccinated.
The spread of polio from Pakistan to China after the country had been polio-free for more than 10 years is a sober reminder to all Member States in the Western Pacific Region to maintain strong vigilance.
Experience and data show that the most effective measures to minimize the consequences of an importation are sensitive surveillance for poliovirus and high population immunity. At the same time, countries should have a response plan in place that can immediately be activated in case of an importation event.