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Published On: Fri, Apr 11th, 2014

Mass polio vaccinations begin in Middle East, Equatorial Guinea reports second polio case

A mass vaccination campaign for polio commenced this week with a goal to reach 20 million children in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt by the weekend, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Wednesday. This follows the first confirmed polio case in Iraq since 2000.

Image/W123 at Wikimedia Commons

Image/W123 at Wikimedia Commons

In Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea reported their second cases of wild poliovirus 1 (WPV-1) for the year. The case was reported this week from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, with onset of paralysis on 19 March. Prior to 2014, the last time the country reported polio was in 1999.

Of the remaining three polio endemic countries, only Pakistan reported addition cases during the past week. Three new WPV1 cases were reported this week from North Waziristan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas – FATA, and one new WPV1 from Bannu district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), bringing the total number of cases for 2014 to 43.

So far in 2014, there has been 56 confirmed WPV-1 cases reported, with 85 percent of cases being reported from endemic areas.

According to the World Health Organization, Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system. Many infected people have no symptoms, but do excrete the virus in their faeces, hence transmitting infection to others.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. Polio can only be prevented by immunization.

Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated more than 350,000 cases to 406 reported cases in 2013. This reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease. Today, only 3 countries in the world have never stopped transmission of polio (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan).

 

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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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