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World

Web Desk
August 21, 2019

Nigeria ‘s three-year breakthrough takes Africa towards polio elimination

World

Web Desk
Wed, Aug 21, 2019

ABUJA: Nigeria on Wednesday announced that three years had transpired since it last recorded a case of polio, a key step towards eradicating the notorious disease in Africa.

"Three years without a case of wild polio virus is a historic milestone for Nigeria and the global community," said Faisal Shuaib, director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Nigeria, Africa´s most populous nation, was the last country on the continent to suffer from disruptions of the wild polio virus but has recorded none since August 2016.

The West African giant will submit data on its polio cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, a move that could pave the way for the whole of the continent to be declared free of the virus.

"If the data confirm zero cases, the entire African region could be polio-free by the middle of next year," the WHO representative in Nigeria, Clement Peter, said.

The polio virus infects the brain and spinal cord, potentially causing lasting muscle pain, weakness or paralysis.

The virus only infects humans, with young children highly vulnerable.

Only Pakistan and Afghanistan are still battling incidents of the disease around the world.