May 22, 2022

Mozambique identified its first case of wild poliovirus Type 1 this week after a child contracted the disease. It is the country’s first such case since 1992 and the second imported case of wild poliovirus in Southern Africa this year. An outbreak was reported in Malawi earlier this year.


  • Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Because the virus lives in the faeces (poop) of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating (pooping).
  • People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.
  • The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Once that happens, the patient is crippled for life because there is no treatment for the affliction. That is why polio is so dreaded.
  • Polio infection, however, is easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • There are three variants of the poliovirus, numbered 1 to 3. For a country to be declared polio-free, the wild transmission of all three kinds has to be stopped. For eradication, cases of both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection have to be reduced to zero.
  • India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988. India was declared polio-free in January 2014.