Disease outbreaks


28 April 1999

Polio in Angola


On 23 March, the paediatric hospital in Luanda reported that a total of 21 cases of acute flaccid paralaysis with 3 deaths had been registered. An investigation by the Ministry of Health demonstrated that by 3 April, 102 cases of AFP had been recorded in Luanda and neighbouring areas of Bengo province. Cases were primarily in children aged < 5 years and 90% of cases had received 2 doses or less of oral polio vaccine. Only 6% had received 4 doses.

On 8 April, the National Institute of Virology in South Africa reported that wild poliovirus type 3 had been isolated from 11 of 22 stool specimens taken from AFP cases in Angola. By 25 April, the number of polio cases was reported to be 661 with 41 deaths. Field investigation confirmed 6 cases of AFP in children aged < 5 years in Benguela, a city 500 km south of Luanda. Investigation of the outbreak is ongoing with the assistance of a WHO team. In response to the outbreak, 634 000 children were immunized with OPV in Luanda on 17 and 18 April. A national immunization campaign is being planned to start in June.