Nigeria has officially recorded 395 instances of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 throughout 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory, according to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
The CMPV2 epidemics, according to the CDC, were triggered by immunological gaps in youngsters.
According to the PUNCH, Nigeria was declared Wild poliovirus free by the World Health Organization and allies in August 2020, after the country reported its last case of the virus in 2016.
The NPHCDA further highlighted in a statement issued by its executive director, Faisal Shuaib, that the cessation of immunization programs owing to the COVID-19 pandemic has generated new immunity gaps, leading to new outbreaks.
“We presently have 395 instances of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (across 27 states and the FCT,” the announcement reads in part.
“Nigeria and the African region were certified Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free in 2020, following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication which spanned three years of no detection of WPV. To date, there has been no case of WPV anywhere in the country.
“cMPV2 outbreaks are caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage, and missing children during immunization campaigns. The suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programmes in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunization because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps which led to new and wider outbreaks and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria.
“The viruses thrive in areas with poor sanitation, open defecation, and inadequate access to clean drinking water. These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal. Malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty is also a predisposing factor in exposed children. These non-wild polioviruses which originated because of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses in the environment are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in many other countries.
The agency added that it is currently, “Working with our Donors and Development Partners, Nigeria has already acquired new tools and resources to ensure the outbreaks are contained through very robust outbreak responses using the novel Oral Polio Vaccine which has been shown to be effective in halting the spread of the cMPV2. All 36 States and FCT have completed at least one nOPV2 Outbreak Response.
“Several other rounds of the OBR, as well as other campaigns to improve the mucosal immunity of children aged 0-5 years old using Injectable Polio Vaccine, have also been planned for this year. Efforts are also being ramped up to increase routine immunization coverage beyond pre-COVID values.