The Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) [IHR (2005)] was held by teleconference on Monday 28 April 2014 from 13:30 to 17:30 Geneva time (CET) and on Tuesday 29 April 2014 from 13:30 to 19:00 Geneva time (CET).
Members of the Emergency Committee and expert advisors to the Committee met on both days of the meeting.1 The following affected States Parties participated in the informational session of the meeting on Monday 28 April 2014: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic.
During the informational session, the WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of recent progress in stopping endemic and imported polioviruses and the international spread of wild polioviruses in 2014 as of 26 April. The above affected States Parties presented on recent developments in their countries.
After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, and in the context of the global polio eradication initiative, the Committee advised that the international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States for which a coordinated international response is essential. The current situation stands in stark contrast to the near-cessation of international spread of wild poliovirus from January 2012 through the 2013 low transmission season for this disease (i.e. January to April). If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases. It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have been met.