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Brazil pediatricians warn about polio outbreak in Venezuela

In Brazil, the wild poliovirus has not been in circulation since 1990

Published in 14/06/2018 - 17:55

By Paula Laboissière Brasília

The Brazilian Pediatrics Society (SBP) released a note warning about the need for extra attention following the detection of a polio outbreak in Venezuela.

In the document, the organization calls for pediatricians to be on the lookout for possible cases of acute flaccid paralysis, and also for proper investigation. The concern, SBP said, comes as a result of the number of immigrants coming to Brazil, especially in the north.

Pediatricians also argue for the reinforced preservation of high and homogenous vaccine coverage for polio in Brazil (currently above 95%), until global eradication is achieved.


Last Thursday (Jun. 7), the Venezuelan Society for Public Health reported cases of acute flaccid paralysis in the state of Delta Amacuro, in the community La Playita del Volcán, Parroquia Juan Millán, in the municipality of Tucupita, whose population belongs to the native ethnic group Warao.

The first notification involved a child two years and ten months old, with no signs of previous vaccination. After the case was confirmed, epidemic surveillance authorities found new occurrences of this kind of paralysis, recently developed and also in children, in a neighboring community. They are still under investigation.

The disease

Poliomyelitis, also known as child paralysis, is an acute contagious disease caused by a virus, which typically causes flaccid paralysis with a sudden outset, according to information from the Health Ministry.

Transmission may take place from person to person, through feces–mouth contact, but also through objects, food, and water with contaminated feces. Mouth-to-mouth contact may also lead to infection via secretions discharged while speaking, coughing, or sneezing.

There is no specific treatment. All patients must be hospitalized.

Vaccination is the only form of prevention. All children under 5 years old must be routinely immunized and as part of countrywide campaigns

In Brazil, the wild poliovirus has not been in circulation since 1990.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira Edition: Lílian Beraldo / Mariana Branco

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