Published on: February 21, 2022




Health authorities in Malawi, Africa have declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after a case was confirmed in a 3-year-old girl in the capital, Lilongwe.


What is Polio?

  • Short for poliomyelitis(infantile paralysis)
  • Infectious disease caused by the poliovirus
  • Virus destroys nerve cells in the spinal cord causing muscle wasting and paralysis


  • There are three wild types of poliovirus (WPV) – type 1, type 2, and type 3
  • People need to be protected against all three types of the virus in order to prevent polio disease


  • By droplets from the upper respiratory tract in the early stages of infection
  • By ingestion of infected faeces or contaminated material in unhygienic conditions


  • Many people who are infected with the poliovirus don’t become sick and have no symptoms
  • Those who do become ill develop paralysis, which can sometimes be fatal


  • No cure for polio
  • Can only be prevented
  • Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life
  • Vaccine contains weakened-virus activating an immune response in the body, building up antibodies against virus

Vaccine derived Polio Virus

  • These are rare strains of poliovirus that have genetically mutated from the virus strain contained in the oral polio vaccine(OPV) administered to children
  • 90% of VDPV cases were due to the type 2 component in OPV

Wild Polio

  • Most common form of poliovirus is wild polio
  • Spread through the environment, but another type of polio connected to the oral vaccine (which contains a live, weakened virus) is equally dangerous
  • Remain in the stomach, mutate, and spread in areas where vaccination rates are low. In recent years, outbreaks of this type of polio have been reported in more than 20 African countries.