The East African country of Mozambique has discovered its first case of the wild polio virus in three decades, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
Neighboring Malawi also had a polio case in February. Both infections come from Pakistan, according to the WHO.
Africa was declared free of the native wild polio virus in August 2020. However, unvaccinated people are still at risk if the virus enters their country from one of the few places in the world where the disease is still circulating, such as parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Therefore, Mozambique and its four immediate neighbours – Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – plan to vaccinate 23 million children aged 5 years or younger. Mozambique hopes to vaccinate 4.2 million young people, according to the WHO.
The polio virus invades the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis. It mainly affects young children. Polio cannot be treated with a drug, but it can be vaccinated against.