Brazil’s low polio vaccination rate and new cases around the world raise awareness of the risk of a return of the disease already eradicated in the country

Low polio vaccination rates in Brazil and new cases around the world warn of the risk of a return of the disease already eradicated in the country -

Poliomyelitis has reappeared in Israel and a new strain has also been recorded in Malawi, in southeastern Africa. The data should not worry Brazil, where the last case of poliomyelitis was detected in 1989 and which has had an eradication certificate since 1994.

However, the country actually has a “high risk of reintroduction” of the disease. Polio vaccination coverage has increased from 96.55% in 2012 to 67.71% in 2021, considering the first three doses of the vaccine, which are applied in the first year of a child’s life.

The first dose of polio vaccine is given from 2 months, with two more doses at 4 and 6 months, in addition to the first booster between 15 and 18 months and the second booster between 4 and 5 years, according to the Brazilian Vaccination Society. (SBIM).

All doses combined, vaccination coverage was 96.55% in 2012. In 2021, it fell to 59.37%. The lowest was the booster dose given at age 4: only 52.51% of children received this dose last year, according to data calculated in DataSUS up to March 6.

“A 3-year-old girl has been diagnosed with wild polio in Malawi, this is the first case in Africa in 5 years. Brazil is one of 6 countries in the Americas at high risk of polio reintroduction, in our cases due to the drop in vaccination coverage”, warns infectious disease specialist Gerson Salvador, of the University Hospital of São Paulo (USP).

He recalled that in 2015, polio vaccination coverage in Brazil approached 100%. As early as 2016, there was a “dizzying drop”.
Since 2014, polio vaccination coverage in Brazil has been below 95%, considered the goal of protection against the disease, says Isabela Ballalai, a pediatrician and vice president of the Brazilian Vaccination Society (SBIm).

For the doctor, “Brazil has several risk factors for poliomyelitis. The most recent of these is the low vaccination coverage”, she specifies.

The g1 contacted the Ministry of Health to understand what measures are being taken to prevent the resumption of the disease in Brazil. Until the last update of this report, he had not received a position.

regional disparity

In addition to registering a decline in national coverage, there is also a disparity between Brazilian regions.

In the North, for example, vaccination coverage for the first three doses of the vaccine last year was just 59.43%, the lowest in the country, according to data through March 6.

In the Northeast, it was 64.27%. The three highest were in the South (76.52%), the Midwest (72.15%) and the Southeast (68.53%).

For comparison purposes, in 2012 all Brazilian regions had coverage above 90%. The lowest rate during this period was recorded in the South, where 94.82% of children under the age of one were vaccinated with the first three necessary doses.

This scenario was similar in 2013 and 2014. 2015 was the first year in which one region – the North – did not reach the rate of 90% of children with the first three doses of vaccine (with a coverage of 88.16 %).

Cases in Israel and Malawi
The Israeli Ministry of Health reported on Sunday (6) a new case of poliomyelitis in a 4-year-old child in Jerusalem. The patient was not immune to the disease, although the vaccine is part of the country’s routine schedule.

In addition, the Israeli government said it had opened an investigation to trace the child’s close contacts and determine if further recommendations were needed to combat transmission.

“It should be noted that the virus was found in sewage samples taken from the region where the case occurred, which can happen, but to date there have been no clinical cases. similar precedents,” Israel’s Health Ministry said. .

On Thursday (30), the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on a wild version of the virus in Malawi. A 5-year-old child was diagnosed with the disease in Lilongwe, the capital of the African country, on November 19, 2021.

On November 26 and 27, two stool samples were collected and received by the South African reference laboratory, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). Then, on January 14, 2022, they were referred to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

about poliomyelitis
Poliomyelitis, also called “infantile paralysis”, is an infectious disease transmitted by a virus. It is characterized by flaccid paralysis.

The onset is sudden and the evolution of the motor deficit occurs, on average, up to three days. The disease usually affects the lower limbs, asymmetrically, and its main characteristic is muscle flaccidity.

Brazil has been polio-free since 1990, according to the Ministry of Health. In 1994, the country received Wild Poliovirus Free Area certification from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

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