Research Article

Outside Europe. Is poliomyelitis a serious problem in developing countries?--the Danfa experience.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 16 April 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:1009
  1. D D Nicholas,
  2. J H Kratzer,
  3. S Ofosu-Amaah,
  4. D W Belcher


    Children were examined for lameness in the Danfa Project district of rural Ghana to assess the impact of endemic poliomyelitis and to test a widely held hypothesis that paralytic poliomyelitis is relatively rare in such districts (less than 1 per 1000 children affected). The observed prevalence of lameness attributable to poliomyelitis was 7 per 1000 school-aged children, and the annual incidence is estimated to be at least 28 per 100 000 population. Although no evidence for an epidemic was found, these rates are comparable with those in the USA and Europe during the years of severe epidemics and indicate that a high price is being paid in the Danfa district for the natural acquisition of immunity. As a result, immunisation against poliomyelitis has been given high priority. A teacher questionnaire was also tested for use in postal surveys as a rapid means of estimating the prevalence of lamenes attributable to poliomyelitis in countries with a reasonable network of primary schools.