AFP Surveillance/Polio Status In Nigeria

A total of 51 wild polioviruses were isolated from 16 states in Nigeria in 2001. The virus is responsible for cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP). 33 of these were Type 1 while 18 were Type 3. Results of 20 other isolates sent to the Regional polio laboratory in Accra, Ghana for intra-typical differentiation are still being awaited.

Of the 16 states, 14 are in the northern part of the country. These are Kano (with 9 cases), Sokoto and Kebbi (7 each), Borno (5 cases), Zamfara and Benue (4 each) and Jigawa (3 cases). Others are Federal Capital Territory, Niger and Katsina (with 2 cases each), Bauchi, Yobe, Kwara and Nasarawa (with 1 case each). The southern states are Lagos and Akwa Ibom, which account for one case each.

One thousand, nine hundred and twelve AFP cases with onset of paralysis in 2001 were reported in the country within the year, instead of 550 expected cases, giving an AFP detection rate of 3.47. This number is expected to increase as more cases with onset of paralysis in 2001 are reported.

Nigeria has put in place a surveillance system which has been adjudged to be very successful, as areas of high virus transmission are now better known due to quality surveillance data.

With the support of WHO and partners like Rotary International, UNICEF, USAID, CDC and other bilateral and multilateral organizations, each state in the federation has at least one Surveillance Officer. Logistics support, including a vehicle, computers and accessories as well as communication facilities have also been provided.

Relevant State Ministries of Health and Local Government staff are being supported to carry out surveillance of priority diseases including AFP in their various domains. The two National Polio Laboratories in Ibadan and Maiduguri have also received substantial financial and logistics support for their operations.

Nigeria is one of the six polio-endemic countries in the WHO Africa Region. Others are Niger Republic, Angola, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Ethiopia. The countries and the world in general are expected to stop transmission of wild poliovirus by the end of this year and be certified polio free by 2005. Three years are needed in-between the time of stopping the transmission of the virus and certification.

The presence of wild poliovirus in Nigeria, despite many rounds of National Immunization Days (NIDs) carried out since 1997, may indicate poor quality of the exercise among other things. There is therefore need to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure that Nigeria joins the rest of the world in being certified polio free by 2005.

For further information, please contact Mr. Austine Oghide, 
NPO/HIP, WHO, 443, Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba, Lagos. 
Tel: (234 1) 5453662/3 Fax: (234 1) 5452179 
E-mail: oghidea [at] who-nigeria.org
or 
Dr. Nehemie Mbakuliyemo 
E-mail: nehemiem [at] who-nigeria.org