Vaccine-Derived Polio Outbreak In DRC Threatens Eradication Efforts

Science: Alarming polio outbreak spreads in Congo, threatening global eradication efforts
“Overshadowed by the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), another frightening virus is on the loose in that vast, chaotic country: polio. … The outbreak also underscores the latest complication on the bumpy road toward polio eradication. It is caused not by the wild virus hanging on by a thread in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and perhaps Nigeria, but by a rare mutant derived from the weakened live virus in the oral polio vaccine (OPV), which has regained its neurovirulence and the ability to spread…” (Roberts, 7/2).

Vox: A vaccine we don’t even use anymore is a reason polio keeps spreading — yes, really
“…The outbreak of vaccine-derived polio was first registered last June, in Maniema province, the central-eastern part of DRC. It has since spread to the south, and popped up in two provinces in the north. ‘It’s worrying because it’s spreading,’ said Michel Zaffran, director of the polio eradication program at the World Health Organization, who added that the government is not yet taking the outbreak seriously enough. … The success of the global polio eradication campaign may hinge on the outcome of the DRC’s polio outbreak…” (Belluz, 7/5).

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