In Borno FG confirms fresh polio outbreak, says Boko Haram to blame

The two new cases were discovered in the in Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas two years after Nigeria was declared polio-free.

  • Published:
Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole play

Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole

(Nigeria Healthwatch)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

The Federal Government has confirmed a fresh outbreak of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in Borno State.

The two new cases were discovered in the in Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas two years after Nigeria was declared polio-free.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, in confirming the outbreak, blamed the resurgence of polio on the activities of Boko Haram terrorists.

“It is unfortunate that we have the development; it has set us back, but I can assure you that we will do everything possible to address the situation. We are meeting again today; we had a meeting yesterday to assess the situation; we will be drawing out an emergency plan and in the next 48 hours, a team will be dispatched to start immunization,” Adewole said according to The Nation.

“We would do three rounds of special immunization campaigns to make sure that we contain the situation. One of the cases is from Gwoza, which is close to the border; the other is Jere. We suspect that both are linked to the insurgents’ eclipse.

“Mr President had last week observed that as we liberate more areas, we should expect challenges, but we did not expect there would be polio; we were expecting nutritional and other challenges.

“As a nation, we will rise up to the challenge. We are assured by our international partners and we will launch a robust response. We had a meeting with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners yesterday; we are meeting again today; we are in touch with the Borno State Governor as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Though we have degraded the insurgents, there are a few hit and run cases which have endangered security in the area. We have also set up a special team to monitor the Lake Chad basin,” he added.

Adewole had earlier said that the Ministry of Health, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), was conducting detailed risk analysis to ascertain the extent of circulation of the virus.

Nigeria has had an unfortunate history with polio, and in 2012 accounted for more than half of cases of the disease worldwide.

ALSO READ: Presidency blames slow eradication of polio on poor economy

The country has however made significant progress against polio in recent times.

Polio, short for Poliomyelitis, is a serious and contagious disease which is caused by a virus and mainly affects the nerve cells of the spinal cord and brain, often leading to muscle weakness and paralysis.