Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Reemergence of Poliovirus in Malawi: Despite the WHO’s declaration in 2020 that the African Region was free from wild poliovirus, a case was confirmed in Malawi in February 2022, the first since 2016 in Africa.
  2. Rapid Response: Within hours of detecting the virus, the President of Malawi declared a public health emergency and initiated a comprehensive outbreak response.
  3. International Support and Vaccination Drives: Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners quickly supported local efforts, launching extensive vaccination campaigns targeting millions of children under five.
  4. Regional Preparedness: Surrounding countries heightened surveillance and preparedness measures, initiating their own vaccination drives to prevent the spread of polio.
  5. Continued Vigilance Necessary: The detection of an additional case in Mozambique underscores the ongoing risk and need for sustained polio eradication efforts globally.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Elizabeth Davlantes,

Suggested Citation

Davlantes E. Notes from the Field: Initial Outbreak Response Activity Following Wild Poliovirus Type 1 Detection — Malawi, February 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:776–777. DOI:


The reemergence of wild poliovirus type 1 in Malawi, after the region was declared free from the virus, poses a significant public health challenge, necessitating a robust and immediate response to prevent further transmission.


The response included activating emergency operations, implementing rapid vaccination campaigns, and coordinating with neighboring countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness.


The case highlights the fragility of polio eradication efforts and the importance of maintaining high immunization coverage and robust surveillance systems to detect and respond to poliovirus promptly.


The detection of wild poliovirus in Malawi and subsequent case in Mozambique after years without reported cases in Africa underscores the ongoing need for vigilance and sustained public health efforts to achieve global polio eradication.

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