Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

Europe

WHO warns against new spread of polio

© AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2014-05-05

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday declared the spread of polio an international public health risk, urging a swift coordinated response across the planet.

Health officials were worried that they were losing ground gained against wild poliovirus in recent years, despite an initiative to eradicate the disease worldwide.

“This is the first time in a while we have seen transmission in low season,” Gregory Härtl, a WHO spokesman told FRANCE 24 by telephone from Switzerland. “This is basically why the World Health Organization decided to issue the warning.

The WHO said preventative measures were needed quickly with the onset of high transmission season this month.

The international body said it had observed the spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 from Pakistan into Afghanistan, from Syria into Iraq, and from Cameroon into Equatorial Guinea.

“If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases,” the WHO warned in a statement on its website.

Härtl said that it was impossible to know with full accuracy why the crippling virus was on the rise, but that it was likely related to falling vaccination rates, particularly in Syria and Cameroon.

Vaccination levels have fallen by 20 percent in the past year in conflict-torn Syria, Härtl noted.

Polio cases have decreased by over 99% over the past 25 years as a result of global vaccination efforts, but the disease still exists and has the potential to spread rapidly in unimmunized populations. 

Date created : 2014-05-05

  • West Africa

    West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • FRANCE - HEALTH

    Man dies in Paris after contracting rabies in Mali

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    WHO confirms polio outbreak in Syria

    Read more

COMMENT(S)