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Published On: Fri, Nov 8th, 2013

German researchers warn of polio threat from Syria and Israel, could spread to Europe

Two German researchers write that the polio situation in parts of the Middle East could spread and threaten the European continent, according to a publication in The Lancet Nov.8.

European Union Map Image/CIA

European Union Map
Image/CIA

Martin Eichner  and Stefan O Brockmann, from the University of Tubingen and the Regional Public Health Office in Reutlingen, Germany, respectively, say that refugees from Syria could bring the virus responsible for flaccid paralysis to Europe.

This follows reports of at least 10 people confirmed positive for wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) were confirmed last week.

In addition, they note the fact that sewage samples and and feces from asymptomatic carriers from Israel have tested positive for polio as part of the concern.

Europe does vaccinate against polio with the inactivated polio vaccine; however, it only partially prevents vaccinees from infection. The scientists also note that some European countries like the Ukraine have relatively low vaccination coverage, all attributing to the risk.

In Muscat, Oman,  the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean finished a meeting that proposed several resolutions concerning the polio situation.

It called on Pakistan to take necessary steps to ensure all children were assessed and vaccinated as a matter of utmost emergency to prevent further international spread and requested the Syrian Arab Republic and adjoining countries to coordinate, and if possible, to synchronize, intensified mass vaccination campaigns using the most appropriate tactics and vaccines to interrupt this new outbreak within 6 months.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative reported that there were no new cases reported from Syria in the past week.

This is also true of the Horn of Africa outbreak, which remains at 201 cases.

The endemic countries of Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan reported three, two and one new cases, respectively, during the past week.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Syria polio update: Three more cases confirmed, total now 13 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] On Friday, two scientists wrote in The Lancet, the polio situation in Syria and the Middle East threatens Eur… […]

  2. Syria, neighbors to vaccinate 20 million children against polio – Reuters says:

    […] experts warnNBCNews.comEurope at 'polio risk' from SyriaBBC NewsSydney Morning Herald -The Global Dispatch -New York Timesall 64 news […]

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