Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Two Countries Re-Infected with Polio, as Nigerian State Resumes Vaccinations

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Two Countries Re-Infected with Polio, as Nigerian State Resumes Vaccinations

Article excerpt

Polio has spread from Nigeria to two more African countries, Guinea and Mall, three weeks after the Nigerian state of Kano which suspended immunization in August last year resumed polio vaccinations, WHO said.

WHO confirmed on 24 August that there were two new cases of children paralysed by polio in Mall and one in Guinea. Both countries had been polio-free for four years. WHO also confirmed three more cases of polio in Sudan's Dafur region, which is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, in addition to a case reported in June.

Nigeria's northern state of Kano became the last of several to resume vaccinations on 31 July, marking an important step towards global efforts to halt transmission of the virus by the end of 2004, WHO said.

But WHO renewed a recent warning, following the news of the six latest polio cases, that Africa could be on the brink of the largest polio epidemic in recent history if efforts are not stepped up to bring the spread of the disease under control.

These six latest cases bring the tally of African countries that have been re-infected with polio to 12 and the number of children paralysed to 94--not including Niger and Nigeria--since Kano and several other northern Nigerian states suspended a polio immunization campaign in August last year.

Since leaders in some of Nigeria's northern Moslem states suspended immunization over unfounded concerns about the oral vaccine's safety, the number of cases in Nigeria has also shot up, with 476 by 24 August, compared with 107 a year before. …

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