Polio Outbreak Response; Evaluation of Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance in Karbala, Iraq

Abdulkareem A. Mahmood Aradhi, Laith M. Hasson, Inaam M. Hameed


Background: After the last outbreak of wild polio infection in Baghdad, April 2014, the Iraqi
response to the outbreak was activated through solid surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP)
case detection in all governorates to interrupt the circulation of poliovirus in addition to the
strengthening of Expanded Program on Immunization. This response to the last outbreak has to be
evaluated independently to ensure effective mopping and surveillance to stop further outbreak all
over the country including the holy province Karbala. We aimed to evaluate the response to the last
polio outbreak by evaluating surveillance activities of acute flaccid paralysis cases whether they meet
the recommended standards.

Methods: Observational evaluation study conducted through August
15–25, 2015. Checking of Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance (AFP) activity through detection
of nonPolio acute flaccid paralysis rate and immediate reporting with adequate stool sampling,
and 60 days follow‑up examination four districts of the province. The reviewing checked whether
the surveillance system in Karbala met the global standards required for stopping wild poliovirus
circulation. The evaluation included immunization coverage rates and active National Immunization
days of oral polio vaccine campaigns.

Results: During the period of review, the core surveillance
indicators in Karbala met the globally set standards. Percent of acute flaccid paralysis cases with
specimens reached to the reference laboratory within 3 days was 100%. Nonpolio cases was 4.2
per 100000 population under 15 years of age through week 33 of the year 2015. Eleven AFP cases
were reported from all districts of Karbala among Population of children under 15 years of age. The
percentage of cases with adequate specimens was 100% in 2015 versus 93% in 2014. The percent of
AFP Cases notified within 7 days of paralysis onset (during first 33 weeks) was 100% in 2015 versus
87% in 2014.

Conclusions: As Karbala response to polio outbreak met the target global indicators and standards of polio surveillance. The circulation of the virus in this locality was interrupted and further transmission of the disease is unlikely.


AFP surveillance; mopping campaigns; NIDs; polio outbreak

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