Global spread of polio is a health emergency

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The international spread of polio is a public health risk that requires a coordinated response, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

An emergency committee of the WHO advised on Monday that wild poliovirus now constitutes an "extraordinary event".

The current transmission rate could result in failure to globally eradicate one of the world's most serious diseases—which is vaccine preventable.

Ten countries are currently considered to have active transmission of polio due to the spread of the disease in Asia, Africa and the Midd le East.

Doctor Bruce Aylward is the Assistant Director General of WHO.

” In central Asia there's been spread from Pakistan to Afghanistan, in the Middle East from the Syrian Arab Republic into Iraq, and in Central Africa from Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea. It is for this reason that the committee believes a coordinated international response to stop this international spread and prevent especially the new spread with the onset of the high transmission season from June 2014.” (0'25")

Other affected countries are Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Israel.

Dr Aylward said the over-riding priority for all polio-infected States is the immediate and full application of the polio eradication strategies.

WHO has recommended that citizens of the affected countries travelling abroad carry a vaccination certificate.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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