Friday, 12 August 2016 - 13:07
2 Polio Paralysis Cases in Nigeria Set Back Eradication Effort
In a serious setback to the drive to eradicate polio from the world, two cases of paralysis caused by the virus have been detected in northeast Nigeria, the World Health Organization announced Thursday.
The discovery dashed the hopes of global health authorities to be able to declare the continent polio-free soon. Nigeria’s last case of wild polio virus was reported in July 2014. The continent’s last was reported in Somalia a month after that. The W.H.O. requires three years with no confirmed cases before declaring a region polio-free.
“We are deeply saddened by the news,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the W.H.O. regional director for Africa. “The overriding priority now is to immunize all children around the affected area.”
Polio paralyzes only about one child of every 200 infected, and in dangerous or remote regions, many cases of paralysis are never detected, so health authorities assume the virus is far more widespread than two cases would suggest.