Blantyre District Health Office (DHO) has dismissed reports of a polio outbreak in its jurisdiction.
The reports were fuelled by the DHO’s announcement that it had identified nine cases of acute flaccid paralysis.
In an interview on Monday, Blantyre district director of health services Gift Kawalazira said there is no cause for alarm as the DHO has been coming across such cases during its surveillance over the years.
He said: “Identification of the cases is part of our disease surveillance. We have been coming across cases like those over the years and when we send the samples for testing for polio the results usually come out negative.”
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said apart from polio, acute flaccid paralysis can be caused by other infections or trauma.
He said: “The ministry has been conducting these surveillances since 1992. We check children that are developing paralysis, unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to diagnose cholera in Malawi so we send the samples to South Africa.
On February 17, the Ministry of Health confirmed a polio or poliomyelitis case in Lilongwe leading to a massive polio vaccination campaign to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Poliovirus causes irreversible paralysis mainly in children zero to 15 years of age.
It also has the potential to infect immune-compromised adults.