After a prolonged multiplication,this vaccine virus derived strain changes and reverts to a form that can cause paralysis in humans.
KAMPALA - Uganda has not had a wild polio case since November 2010, according to a press release from the ministry of health.
The statement is in response to media reports concerning the spread of Vaccine Derived Polio Outbreak (VDPVs) in DR Congo to Uganda.
"Vaccine-Derived Polio Viruses (VDPVs) are rare but well-documented strains of polio virus.
VDPVs are strains of a polio virus which emerge after a prolonged multiplication of attenuated strains of the virus contained in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in the guts of children with immunodeficiency or in populations with very low immunity," the statement explains.
After a prolonged multiplication, this vaccine virus derived strain changes and reverts to a form that can cause paralysis in humans.
So far, over 20 children in Congo have been paralysed since the outbreak which was first reported in June 2017.
In February this year the Congolese government declared the outbreak a national public health emergency.
Consequently, the press statement elucidates that as part of the polio endgame strategy, countries around the world, including Uganda switched from trivalent to bivalent OPV, which reduces the risk of VDPV and introduced at least one dose of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in the routine immunization programme.
The statement further assures the public that OPV is extremely safe and effective at protecting children against lifelong polio paralysis, and has been the vaccine of choice for over 195 countries, Uganda inclusive, that have successfully eradicated polio.
"It remains the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's (GPEI) recommended vaccine of choice to finish global eradication. More than 10 billion doses of OPV have been given to more than two billion children in the past ten years," it reads.
The statement notes that like any polio-free country, Uganda maintains a high routine immunisation and sensitive surveillance against importations and against vaccine derived virus until polio is completely eradicated.