Monday, May 5, 2014

World facing polio health emergency

World facing polio health emergency

A vaccination campaign in Peshawar, Pakistan. File photo Polio is still a problem in a number of countries, including Pakistan

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The World Health Organization has declared the spread of polio is an international public health emergency. 

Outbreaks in Asia, Africa and Middle East are an "extraordinary event" needing a co-ordinated "international response", the agency said.

It recommends citizens of affected countries travelling abroad carry a vaccination certificate.
The conditions for a public health emergency of "international concern" were met, said the WHO's Bruce Aylward.
Polio virus The polio virus can be deadly
Mr Aylward, WHO Assistant Director General, was speaking after an emergency meeting in Geneva on the spread of polio which included representatives of the affected countries.

"The international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other states for which a co-ordinated international response is essential," the WHO's Emergency Committee said in statement.

"If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world's most serious vaccine preventable diseases."

"Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014," the agency says.

And the WHO lists Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria as "posing an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014."
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