ZIMBABWE is on high alert following a polio outbreak in neighbouring Mozambique.
Addressing the media during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday, Information and Publicity minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the fact that Zimbabwe shared borders with Mozambique put the country on high alert.
“During the week under review, Mozambique experienced three cases of polio outbreak in Tete province. Although it has not been reported in Zimbabwe, four districts in Mashonaland East (province) share the border with Tete province. Thus, Zimbabwe will have a synchronised vaccination programme in the region,” Mutsvangwa said.
Polio is a highly contagious, devastating disease that mainly affects children under five years of age. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.
The virus enters the body through the mouth, multiplies in the gut, and spreads easily via faecal, contaminated food and water.
Initial symptoms to look out for include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs.
There is no cure for polio, but it can be prevented through administration of oral polio vaccine.
If the vaccine is administered multiple times, it can protect a child for life.