Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organizationdeclared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007.

Just two years ago — after a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children — the paralyzing virus was near eradication; now health officials say that goal could evaporate if swift action is not taken.

Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have recently allowed the virus to spread — to Afghanistan, Iraq and Equatorial Guinea, respectively — and should take extraordinary measures to stop it, the health organization said.

“Things are going in the wrong direction and have to get back on track before something terrible happens,” said Gregory Hartl, a W.H.O. spokesman. “So we’re saying to the Pakistanis, the Syrians and the Cameroonians, ‘You’ve really got to get your acts together.’ ”

Source: The New York Times (link opens in a new window)

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health care, healthcare technology, infectious diseases, vaccinations