An explosive polio outbreak in Somalia and Kenya threatens Horn of Africa

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Oral polio vaccine being administered (Credit: WHO)

There's an explosive polio outbreak in Somalia where 105 cases have been confirmed. It has also spread to neighbouring Kenya, with 12 cases confirmed, according to Oliver Rosenbauer, the spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

There are three polio-endemic countries worldwide (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan).

Mr. Rosenbauer explained that Somalia and Kenya are not considered endemic as the outbreak was caused by an importation of the virus that re-infected these areas, noting that Somalia has been polio-free for six or seven years.

He warned that this is by far the biggest outbreak and is a pretty dangerous one putting the populations across the Horn of Africa at risk. He noted that outbreak response activities have been ongoing to protect the populations since May 2013 when it was first reported.

Mr. Rosenbauer discussed the severity of the situation with UN Radio's Patrick Maigua in Geneva.

Duration: 4'58"

Filed under Today's Features.
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