Polio outbreak in Tajikistan4th May 2010
Tajikistan has decided to give out mass immunisations, following a polio outbreak that has killed 12 people in the past month.
Prior to the outbreak, the country's health ministry had not reported any new cases of polio for more than 10 years.
Experts say that the reintroduction of the virus is due to the spread of a strain native to Uttar Pradesh in India.
In the past month, the newly reintroduced virus has infected hundreds of children, paralysing dozens of them.
The strain of polio that has made its way into Tajikistan only circulated in a few countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and India.
As a result of the outbreak, doctors in Uzbekistan have started vaccinating children under five, and Afghan health officials have increased their surveillance of the borders.
Currently, the virus has shown symptoms of acute flaccid paralysis in about 171 Tajiks.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that thirty-two of the 171 cases were wild polio virus type one, and that the first round of vaccination would begin in the area of the capital Dushanbe.
The WHO has sent six technical experts to Tajikistan to investigate the virus, hoping they can help prevent the disease from spreading.
Sona Bari, a WHO spokeswoman for the Polio Eradication Initiative, said that the WHO was planning three large-scale vaccination campaigns.
She said there were about 864,000 children under the age of five who would benefit from the vaccine, and that surrounding countries such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyztan had been asked to make sure their immunisation rates were sufficient to withstand an incursion of the disease.
The WHO said that the recent outbreak demonstrated the need of all countries to maintain high population immunity against polio.
All of the recent cases of polio occurred in south-western Tajikistan, bordering Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Polio, sometimes called poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious, sometimes fatal disease.
While it has been eradicated from many parts of the world, it can travel very quickly from country to country.
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Wednesday 5th May 2010 @ 14:11
Uzbekistan Government authorities are very sensitive to any out break of disease. Polio being a dangerous and infectious disease is of great concern and Uzbekistan health authorities have already started taking measures.
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Title: Polio outbreak in Tajikistan
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 14780
Date Added: 4th May 2010