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Polio outbreak in southwestern Tajikistan

Polio immunisation campaign underway.
(Fakhrinisso Kurbonshoeva/IRIN)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 120 cases of "acute flaccid paralysis" in southwestern Tajikistan, of which seven have been confirmed as Type-1 poliovirus.

Most are children under five. Many had onset of paralysis over the past two weeks and 10 children have died. More than 45 of the children affected had had four or more doses of oral polio vaccine.

"Polio importations such as the Tajikistan cases demonstrate our global vulnerability to infectious disease," said Carol Pandak, head of Rotary International’s (RI) PolioPlus programme. "It highlights the fact that polio `control’ is not an option and only successful eradication will stop polio in resource-poor countries."

RI said on 23 April it would provide US$500,000 to the UN Children’s Fund and WHO for immediate polio immunization in Tajikistan. Tajikistan's last case of clinically confirmed polio was in 1997, and the country was certified polio free in 2002.

Tajiksitan borders on one of the world’s four polio-endemic countries - Afghanistan.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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