The Central African Republic joined the Polio Eradication Initiative in 1996. Although the last autochthonous wild poliovirus was isolated in 2000, the country experienced several importations of wild poliovirus between 2003 and 2011. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Polio eradication program in CAR between 2004 and 2015. A retrospective analysis of data was conducted by the Institut Pasteur de Bangui and the Ministry of Health on key performance indicators of active surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). A total of 1486 AFP cases were notified. Of 2910 stool samples collected, 71.9% (2098/2910) samples were transported to the laboratory within 3 days of collection; 84% (2451/2910) of the samples were considered to be adequate. 51 wild polioviruses (WPV) were isolated during four outbreaks (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011), of which the latest was in December 2011. All of these wild polioviruses were imported via the countries bordering CAR. 160 isolates were identified as vaccine polioviruses and 651 as non-polio enteroviruses. No vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was detected during the study period. Routine nationwide immunization coverage was particularly low, with an average rate of 49%. The potential risk for introduction of VDPVs is great given the low oral polio vaccine (OPV) immunization coverage. The ongoing outbreak of cVDPV2 confirms it. The program must be reinforced, with improved routine vaccine coverage to meet WHO standards.
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