Health authorities in Malawi declare an outbreak on 17 Feb 2022 after a case of wild poliovirus type 1 is confirmed in Malawi/Lilongwe (disease began in Nov 2021). The pathogen is related to a strain from Pakistan (Sindh), where wild polio is still circulating.
Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after all forms of wild polio were eliminated in the region. In Malawi, the last clinically confirmed case of wild polio was reported in 1992.
Polio is transmitted through water or contaminated food and can cause permanent, disabling paralysis. There is no treatment, but vaccination prevents the disease.
Consequences for travelers
The vaccination reliably protects against infection: 4 doses during childhood or 3 doses during adulthood and a booster vaccination every 10 years for all countries in sub-Saharan Africa and for countries that are classified as vulnerable to polio outbreaks.