Syria polio update: Three more cases confirmed, total now 13
In a follow-up to a report two weeks ago, the number of confirmed cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have increased by three in the Syrian Arab Republic, bringing the total cases confirmed in the war-torn country to 13.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Global Alert and Response Monday, genetic sequencing indicates that the isolated viruses are most closely linked to virus detected in environmental samples in Egypt in December 2012 (which in turn had been linked to wild poliovirus circulating in Pakistan).
In addition, closely related wild poliovirus strains have also been detected in environmental samples in Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip since February 2013.
Last month, a large-scale supplementary immunization activity was launched in the Syrian Arab Republic to vaccinate 1.6 million children against polio, measles, mumps and rubella, in both government-controlled and contested areas.
In addition, 20 million kids seven Middle East countries, including Syria, are expected to be immunized against polio over the next 6 months.
The WHO says because of frequent population movements in Syria, the risk of further international spread of wild poliovirus type 1 across the region is considered to be high.
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