The World Health Assembly (WHA) Report on Poliomyelitis has been published. The report summarises the status against the Polio Endgame Plan and Resolution WHA68.3, adopted by the WHA in May 2015.
The report notes that strong progress continues to be made towards each of the four objectives of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 (the Endgame Plan). With only Afghanistan and Pakistan remaining endemic for poliomyelitis, wild poliovirus transmission is at the lowest levels in history, with the fewest-ever reported cases from the fewest-ever affected countries.
The declaration of international spread of wild poliovirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the temporary recommendations promulgated under the International Health Regulations (2005) remain in effect. In September 2015, the Polio Oversight Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reviewed progress and concluded that wild poliovirus transmission was more likely to be interrupted in 2016 than in 2015. This delay shifted the predicted date for certification of global polio eradication to 2019 and increased the cost of completing polio eradication by US$ 1500 million. In October 2015, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization confirmed its recommendation that the withdrawal of oral polio vaccines containing the type 2 component should occur during the period 17 April – 1 May 2016 in all countries that are using trivalent oral polio vaccine through a globally-synchronized replacement of this vaccine by the bivalent oral polio vaccine. The Group also reaffirmed that, in preparation for this global event, it was crucial that countries met established deadlines to identify facilities holding wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2, destroy all type 2 poliovirus materials and, only where necessary, appropriately contain type 2 poliovirus in essential poliovirus
facilities. The Executive Board at its 138th session noted an earlier version of this report. The text of the report has been updated and revised in light of the Board’s deliberations.
As at 17 February 2016, 74 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis due to wild poliovirus had been reported globally with onset of paralysis in 2015, compared to 359 for 2014. All the cases were reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan and were caused by wild poliovirus type 1. On 20 September 2015, the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication declared global eradication of wild poliovirus type 2. Wild poliovirus type 3 has not been detected globally since November 2012. [Source: WHA Provisional Agenda item, 8 April 2016. http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA69/A69_25-en.pdf]
For further details, see the Polio Eradication website http://www.polioeradication.org/.