Suspected polio cases reported in Syria: WHO

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Syrian children affected by the conflict.

There are reports of suspected polio cases in Syria.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has received reports of a cluster of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases in the Syrian Arab Republic.

According to WHO, this cluster of 'hot' AFP was detected in early October 2013 in Deir Al Zour province and is currently being investigated. The UN health agency says initial results from the national polio laboratory in Damascus indicate that two of the cases could be positive for polio but final results are being awaited from the regional reference laboratory of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of WHO.  Wild polio virus was last reported in Syria in 1999.

Syria's health ministry confirms that it is treating the outbreak as a cluster of 'hot' AFP cases, pending final laboratory confirmation.

The ministry says an urgent response is currently being planned across the country.  Syria is considered at high-risk for polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases due to the current situation.

A surveillance alert has been issued for the region to actively search for additional potential cases.

And WHO's International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to and from polio-infected areas be fully vaccinated against polio.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.
Duration:  1’13″


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