For the first time since 1994, the polio virus has been detected in Brazil, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
The virus — minute amounts of which can be detected — was found in a sewage sample from an airport near Campinas, west of Rio de Janiero. It was collected in March and matched a strain found recently in Equatorial Guinea on the central African coast.
There are no reports of any cases of paralysis. For every child paralyzed by polio, health authorities estimate that more than 200 are carrying and shedding the virus with few or no symptoms.
Because about 95% of Brazilian children are immunized against polio, the WHO says it is very unlikely that the virus will spread widely and has not suggested any restrictions on travel to or from the country.