In Geneva on Tuesday the United Nations announced an outbreak of Polio in children in Syria. With population movements, this disease could easily spread so vaccination campaigns are being put into place. With thousands of refugees fleeing daily from Syria’s civil war to neighboring countries, the officials are also intensifying immunization efforts in six countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, and Turkey. Unicef said it had vaccinated about a million Syrian children this year. Officials speculate that a possible source may have been from jihadi fighters traveling to Syria from Pakistan which, with Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only countries where the disease is still endemic. The outbreak of polio in Syria “shows you have to eradicate the disease in the endemic countries because from there it will spread no matter where you are,” said Mr. Rosenbauer from WHO's Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The Polio outbreak in Syria was a set-back but we are seeing significant progress in curbing the disease.
This outbreak is affecting many people -especially young children- in, not only Syria, but in other countries as well due to the massive amount of refugees escaping to other countries. The spread of this disease needs to be contained and I think that WHO is on the right path by providing vaccinations and launching a campaign against the disease.
By Nick Cumming-Bruce