Source Pravda.Ru

Polio epidemic threats African children

International polio experts warn that West and central Africa are facing the largest polio epidemic in recent years, quotes newscientist.com.

The case of a child being paralysed by the disease on 20 May in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan was confirmed on Tuesday. This prompted an alert from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which consists of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Rotary International and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to allafrica.com, in northern Nigeria children still are not routinely receiving the anti-polio vaccine so they are largely unprotected, says David Heymann, spokesman for the World Health Organisation's polio eradication director.

"Polio is being exported from Nigeria into countries in Western and Central Africa where levels of protection for polio are very low. And as a result 10 countries (in those regions) and one in Southern Africa and Botswana now have polio that has been exported from Nigeria," Heymann says.

"This has placed approximately 74 million children at risk of polio, and those who aren't vaccinated are, of course, at greatest risk," said the WHO expert.