Luanda (AFP)

The Angolan authorities are worried about a reappearance of polio in their territory, which they have identified in just a few days a good forty cases attributed to a decline in immunization coverage of children.

"After seven years without polio, we are unfortunately facing a difficult situation," Health Minister Silvia Lutucuta said Monday, launching a new vaccination campaign in the suburbs of the capital Luanda.

"We have 44 new cases in 10 of the country's 18 provinces," said Lutucuta.

The different variants of wild poliovirus cause irreversible paralysis or even death. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that two of its three strains have been eradicated from the planet.

Non-wild forms of the polio virus - derived from a vaccine strain - however, continue to be transmitted in parts of Africa and Asia.

According to WHO, in populations with very low immunity, the vaccine strain may continue to circulate and mutate to the point of causing paralysis.

The Angolan Minister of Health reiterated the absolute need to vaccinate populations.

"All children need to be protected with three doses of oral polio vaccine, which will continue to be administered within two weeks to quickly build immunity to control the epidemic," she said.

The campaign launched Monday is expected to vaccinate 2.5 million children aged 0 to 5 years.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that all travelers to Angola be up to date with their polio immunization.

© 2019 AFP