Syria: fearing polio epidemic, WHO vaccinates 20 mln kids

To stop risk of contagion in Middle East

07 November, 15:06

    Polio vaccination in Syria [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20131106 ] Polio vaccination in Syria [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20131106 ]

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - After suspected cases of polio were detected in Syria, the World Health Organization has decided to vaccinate 20 million children in the area against a feared outbreak of the viral disease, which cripples and kills, across the Middle East, a high official announced after a meeting of the agency's regional committee for the eastern Mediterranean.

    The original plan was to vaccinate two and a half million children in Syria and another six in neighbouring countries but after the Syrian cases were confirmed the number will be doubled with 50 million doses necessary, parts of which will be taken from other programmes. WHO's Bruce Aylward told the New York Times that a massive effort was needed against the risk of an outbreak with hundreds of cases.

    At the moment the only countries where polio is endemic are Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan although the virus has reappeared in other African countries and Israel.

    The cases in Syria alarmed Europe with the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) warning European countries to increase their vaccination coverage in order to avoid the risk to 'import' cases. (ANSAmed).

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