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Published On: Tue, Nov 26th, 2013

Syria polio total rises to 17: WHO

In a follow-up to the polio outbreak being reported in Syria, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting today the total number of confirmed cases to now be 17, up from 13 cases two weeks ago.

Syria

Image/CIA

The UN health body says 15 cases have been confirmed in Deir Al Zour province, while one case each was reported from rural Damascus and Aleppo.

Health officials say this confirms widespread circulation of the virus.

Seven countries and territories are holding mass polio vaccination campaigns targeting 22 million children under the age of five years. In a joint resolution, all countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region have declared polio eradication to be an emergency, calling for support in negotiating and establishing access to those children who are currently unreached with polio vaccination.

It is anticipated that outbreak response will need to continue for at least six to eight months, depending on the area and based on evolving epidemiology.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system, and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.

Polio mainly affects children under five years of age.

According to the WHO, there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life.

In 2013, only three countries in the world remain polio-endemic: 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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  1. The Top 10 Infectious Disease and Outbreak News stories of 2013 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Syria, which hadn’t seen a polio case since 1999, reported an outbreak that as of today has infected 17 […]

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