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Malawi declares Africa’s first polio case in years

A case of wild polio has emerged in Africa for the first time in five years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Malawian health authorities have declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after a case was detected in the capital Lilongwe, the WHO said.

The poliovirus paralysed a three-year-old girl.

A laboratory test found the strain to be the same as one circulating in Pakistan, the health authorities said.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries where wild polio is endemic.

The last known case of wild polio in Africa occurred in 2016 in Borno state, Nigeria. The continent was declared free of indigenous wild polio in 2020.

Polio is a highly infectious disease. The virus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours.


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