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Author Topic: Nigeria Digs In to End Polio After Setback  (Read 132 times)

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Offline yungcrux

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Nigeria Digs In to End Polio After Setback
« on: August 22, 2016, 08:45:10 AM »

In mid-August, Nigeria was set to celebrate being polio-free for two years. In one more year, the World Health Organization would declare the country polio-free.

But that didnít happen. Instead, two children in different parts of Borno state caught the virus and were left paralyzed.

Borno state is under the control of the Boko Haram militant group, and conflict in that northern state has made getting all children there immunized dangerous. The geography can also make it difficult to get to them.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of children may have missed getting vaccinated, allowing the virus to circulate quietly for the past five years. The two latest cases of polio are similar to the strain that spread in 2011.

Not everyone who gets polio suffers from paralysis. Polio cripples only about one out of every 200 people who get it. That means that if two children were paralyzed, up to 400 could have had the virus.

In a Skype interview, John Vertefueille, who heads the polio eradication effort at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said that while the new cases were a disappointment to all those working to eradicate polio in Nigeria, timelines are built into the eradication process to give polio workers and the health ministry a chance to review the process and make sure nothing was missed.

Vertefueille said this could mean active case finding. It could mean looking very critically at the surveillance and finding out where immunization campaigns need to be strengthened.


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