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Polio Eradication Update

Polio Eradication Update-November 2013

Some members may have seen newspaper articles on the increase in reported cases of Polio this year, in particular, Syria so thought I would do some research on the current status.

This year until 16th November there have been 334 cases compared to 187 last year.

The increase has been caused by cases occurring in areas of the world where there has been political and economic turmoil.  In Somalia there have been 180 cases, there were none last year. In Syria there have been 13 cases and again non last year. These are areas where immunisation has been very difficult.  People carrying the disease who have been displaced have moved into these areas adding to the difficulties.

The good news is that in the so called endemic countries of Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan the total numbers for the year are 119 compared to 182 last year. There have been only 9 cases in Afghanistan compared to 27 last year. Again economic/political turmoil in the frontier territories of Pakistan, where immunisation is currently too dangerous, has led to a small increase in cases.

In the past 2 months preventative immunisation and other actions have stopped new cases in Syria and Somalia.

The nature of polio, where 200 carriers of the virus may only produce one full blown case, means that outbreaks will probably continue for some years, we should not be disheartened by this, but remember we have reduced the incidence by 99.9% in 26 years.


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