Pak, Afghanistan only nations with polio as Africa declared free of the disease
New Delhi, Aug 26: The entire continent of Africa was declared free of wild polio on Tuesday, as Nigeria became the last African country to be declared free of the disease.
With this, polio now exists only in two countries in the world - Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In both countries, vaccination efforts against the highly infectious, water-borne disease are complicated by insecurity and attacks on health workers.
After decades of effort Africa is now free of wild poliovirus after in 1996, 75,000 children in the continent were paralysed by the disease.
The announcement, by the African Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication, comes after no cases were reported for 4 years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says this is just the second time a virus has been eradicated in Africa, after the elimination of smallpox four decades ago.
"This is an incredible and emotional day," WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said, but she urged vigilance as the coronavirus threatens vaccination and surveillance efforts.