Africa Marks Polio-Free Year

FILE - UNICEF team vaccinates children against polio at St. Ambrose church in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, March 9, 2011.

VOA News,August 13, 2015

Africa has marked a full year since its last recorded case of polio, a key step in the future eradication of the disease.

The last recorded case of polio in the continent was in Somalia last year, following an outbreak in the Horn of Africa region two years ago that left more than 200 people paralyzed.

The Somali government is not yet declaring the disease completely eradicated from the country.

Experts warn that continued success in the battle against polio depends on the continuation of vaccination campaigns and the close monitoring of suspected cases.

Nigeria marked one year since its last recorded case of polio in July. Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the only two countries in the world that have active cases of the disease.

Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease transmitted person to person, often through fecal matter and contaminated water. It mainly affects children, causing permanent paralysis and even death. Polio is easily prevented through vaccination, but there is no cure.