Polio vaccinations kick off in Sudan, Iraq

November 11, 2015 7:53 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 10 — The United Nations said here Monday that polio vaccinations kicked off in Sudan and Iraq, where millions of children can be protected from risk of the spread of wild polio virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that more than four million children under the age of five have been targeted with oral polio vaccine during a three-day national immunization campaign in Sudan, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

"The campaign was carried out in 18 states of Sudan, which remains at high risk of the spread of wild polio virus because of large numbers of people moving throughout the country, mostly due to conflict and displacement," the spokesman said.

Iraq this week completed its first round of oral cholera vaccination campaign for Syrian refugees and displaced people inside Iraq, he said. "And that campaign is being supported by the World Health Organization and the UN Children's Fund."

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle such as contaminated water or food and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, and it can only be prevented by immunization. (PNA/Xinhua)

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