World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Agency Declares Global Health Emergency to Stop Polio

UN Agency Declares Global Health Emergency to Stem Potential Resurgence of Polio

New York, May 5 2014 - The spread of polio in countries where it was once eradicated is an “extraordinary event” and unless an international coordinated response is urgently put in place, the preventable disease will resurge, the United Nations health agency today warned.

Members of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Committee meeting today in Geneva unanimously agreed that the over-riding priority for all polio-infected countries must be to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission within their borders “as rapidly as possible”. Supplementary immunization campaigns with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), virus surveillance, and routine immunization are among the main ways to interrupt transmission.

Cameroon, Pakistan and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries and should ensure that all residents and long-term visitors should be vaccinated before traveling and provided with a proof of vaccination, according to a statement from the WHO.

The Committee also identified countries where the wild poliovirus is active but currently not being transmitted to neighbouring countries. That group includes Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria.

“If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases,” the Committee said, announcing their unanimous view “that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have been met.”

In addition to vaccinations, the WHO recommended that the highest levels of Government officially declare that interrupting the spread of polio is a national public health emergency.

The current situation “stands in stark contrast to the near-cessation of international spread of wild poliovirus from January 2012 through the 2013 low transmission”, the Committee Members said in a statement after their meeting, adding that there is increasing evidence that adult travelers have contributed to the spread.

Polio usually strikes children under the age of five. The virus enters the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestines attacking the nervous system, potentially causing total paralysis in a matter of hours.

Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis and among those paralyzed, five to 10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilized, according to UN figures.

Noting the rising trend of infections in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the UN and its partners re-launched massive vaccination campaigns last month in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, aiming to reach 22 million children.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news