Uganda has declared a public health emergency after scientists discovered polio in samples taken from two different sewage plants in Kampala.
The country was first declared polio-free in 2006 by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission, but suffered outbreaks in 2009 and 2010.
Polio usually affects children under five, sometimes leading to irreversible paralysis. Death can occur when breathing muscles are affected.
Some twenty-five years ago thousands of children in the region were paralysed by the virus.
Results from Uganda’s virus research institute show that the strain detected is related to that first reported in Sudan.
Uganda and the rest of the continent had been declared polio-free in August 2020. But the disease resurged and 19 countries have reported polio outbreaks over the past year.
Uganda’s health ministry says it is stepping up polio surveillance across health facilities and will investigate all children under the age of 15 who may present sudden paralysis or weakness in the limbs.
A mass vaccination programme is scheduled in October and December this year, for all children under the age of five.