Basic Water and Sanitation (WASH) issues maybe behind the rise in polio cases in DR Congo.
The Democratic Republic of Congo recorded 63 cases of type 1 poliomyelitis, the most virulent form, in 2010, with a sharp rise in cases over the past two months, according to health officials. The largest number of infections, with 50 cases of paralysis, occurred in Western Kasai province, close to the Angolan border.
In neighbouring Republic of Congo, the same disease has killed 169 people and paralyzed 409, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Although polio usually strikes children under five, in both countries it is mainly adults who have been infected. “Vaccination campaigns only started in this country [DRC] in the mid-1980s. Those now over 30 years of age have mostly not been vaccinated,” said Health Minister Victor Makwenge Kaput.
“Citizens should employ basic hygiene measures, such as hand-washing and keeping latrines clean,” he added.