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Gambia’s health minister declares polio outbreak


Gambia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, has declared an outbreak of polio in the West African nation, while calling for a national health emergency to help check its spread across the country.

According to an official statement, Minister Samateh said that two cases of polio viruses have been detected in the capital, Banjul, and Kotu, 15 km outside the city.

“Two environmental samples collected from sewage sites, one from Banjul and the other from Kotu, have tested positive for polio virus type 2. This has created a polio outbreak situation in the country since a single positive polio virus case is considered an outbreak under the 2005 International Health Regulations, thereby requiring an urgent response to breaking the transmission,” the Minister said.

The Gambia last detected a polio case in 1986 and was certified polio free in 2004.

The statement said over the years, the country had achieved and maintained high polio vaccination coverage in its commitment to the global polio eradication goal.


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