Health Ministers from Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia have announced their own cases of polio and are working with Zimbabwe to quell the outbreak.

Sleiman Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care has stated that although the presence of the virus in the sewage samples is concerning, a plan to roll out two rounds of vaccinations for children under 10 will begin on the 20th of February to combat the spread of the virus.

“The detection of these viruses in the environment or in humans constitutes a polio outbreak in the country. While the news is concerning, we as a ministry would like to reassure the public that we have taken swift action to investigate and contain the outbreak to prevent any further spread that may occur.”

According to Kwidini, the polio type detected in the samples likely came from the mutation of the weakened live virus administered in the oral polio vaccine, which then circulated the community.

However, according to statistics from the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe was declared polio free in 2005 and has a “robust immunization program”, with much of the country vaccinated for the virus.

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