The West African nation of The Gambia has discovered some suspected cases of the vaccine derived polio virus, its health minister Amadou Lamin Samateh told Freedom Newspaper in a phone interview on Wednesday morning [11 Aug 2021]. Health minister Samateh said some samples have been taken and sent to Dakar, Senegal to confirm if there is vaccine derived polio virus in the country. “They did an assessment. They take samples from sewage and when they take samples from sewage, they have a way for checking the virus with those things and samples are checked. That’s the alert I got, the day before yesterday [10 Aug 2021]. And they also sent some samples to Senegal to confirm whether there is vaccine derived polio virus in The Gambia or not and we are preparing a statement and a vaccination campaign,” Dr Samateh remarked.
Samateh said the vaccine derived polio virus has been discovered in neighboring Senegal and Guinea. He added that his ministry has since been on the vigilance to monitor possible suspected cases. Samateh says based on the preliminary samples that they have tested; their findings have revealed that there are suspected polio cases in the Gambia.
“I cannot confirm as we speak, because we had a preliminary meeting a day before yesterday [10 Aug 2021], let me get the information, then I can update you. If they are able to detect those viruses in the stools and so on, I told you, they were testing sewage samples and presumably it came from the stools of people who used those sewages. So, the assumption is there would be vaccine derived virus in the country, but we want confirmation so that we give the people what is important. And the idea is, the team is putting strategies. If at all it is found, so that we roll into vaccination campaign for that. I don’t want to give any premature information. Give me the opportunity to give you the correct information as soon as possible,” he added.