Poliovirus immunity among children under five years-old in accessible areas of Afghanistan, 2013

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Medical College Pakistan


Afghanistan remains among the three countries with endemic wild poliovirus transmission, and high population immunity levels are required to interrupt transmission and prevent outbreaks. Surveillance and vaccination of children in Afghanistan have been challenging due to security issues limiting accessibility in certain areas.
A serosurvey was conducted in 2013 within accessible enumeration areas (EAs) among children aged Afghanistan, 107 were inaccessible and therefore were excluded from the sampling frame.
Population immunity was high overall but varied for the poliovirus serotypes, and was lowest for type 3 (95% [95% CI: 93%, 96%]) compared to type 1 (99% [95% CI:97%, 99%]) and type 2 (98% [95% CI:96%, 99%]). The proportion of the population immune to all three types was 93% (95% CI: 91%, 95%), and the proportion seronegative for all three types was 0.5% (95% CI: 0.2%, 1.7%).
Except for regional differences in immunity to type 3 virus, there were no other apparent differences in seroprevalence by region or by any of the demographic or nutritional characteristics assessed in this study. The study was not powered to provide provincial level seroprevalence estimates, but Paktika Province, in the South region, had the largest proportion of seronegative specimens for type 1 (4 seronegative of 17 serum specimens compared to 14 seronegative of 673 for the remainder of the areas). Among accessible children in Afghanistan, seroprevalence of antibodies to poliovirus was high, with most seroprevalence reported at 95% or greater. Despite high seroprevalence in areas assessed in this study, the continued detection of poliovirus cases in the South and East regions indicate that overall regional vaccination coverage and performance is not sufficient to stop polio transmission.

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