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Posts Tagged ‘polio’

350,000 Displaced Following Pakistan Army Offensive

Posted by feww on June 22, 2014

SCENARIOS 444, 411, 202, 070, 04

Pakistanis  fleeing North Waziristan amid army offensive against Taliban

At least 350,000 people have fled their homes since the start of an army offensive against Taliban militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan a week ago, officials say.

While most of them are internally displaced, many entering the nearest town of Banu, a large number of the refugees have fled into the eastern parts of Afghanistan, mostly arriving in the districts of Gurboz, Khost (Matun), Tanni, Nadir Shah Kot and Mando Zai in Khost province, according to UNHCR and other sources.

“The newly arrived women, men and children have trekked the mountainous terrains across Pakistan’s border to seek safety. People are being accommodated with local Afghan communities for now. However, Afghan hosting communities have limited absorption capacity and resources. The urgent needs include shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation,” said the UN refugee agency.

The military offensive began a week ago after a deadly attack on Karachi international airport, claimed jointly by an Uzbek militant group and the Pakistani Taliban.

More than 70,000 children aged 12 or younger are among the refugees, according to FIRE-EARTH Population Models.

“Many of them have never been vaccinated for highly-infectious diseases—like polio—because of a Taliban-imposed ban,” said a report.

North Waziristan has a population of about seven million, and 80% of them are still living in the area as the military strikes escalate, officials said.

Inside Pakistan, the government has confirmed that many of the people have been displaced internally from North Waziristan into the Banu, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

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Global Health Emergency Declared as Poliovirus Spreads

Posted by feww on May 5, 2014


Global Health Emergency Declared as Wild Poliovirus Spreads

The international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” the Director General of WHO  declared on 5 May 2014, based on the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee’s assessment.

“… the international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other states for which a co-ordinated international response is essential,” said the WHO’s Emergency Committee.

At end-2013, 60% of polio cases were the result of international spread of wild poliovirus, and there was increasing evidence that adult travellers contributed to this spread. During the 2014 low transmission season there has already been international spread of wild poliovirus from 3 of the 10 States that are currently infected: in central Asia (from Pakistan to Afghanistan), in the Middle East (Syrian Arab Republic to Iraq) and in Central Africa (Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea). A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop this international spread of wild poliovirus and to prevent new spread with the onset of the high transmission season in May/June 2014; unilateral measures may prove less effective in stopping international spread than a coordinated response. The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile States which have severely compromised routine immunization services and are at high risk of re-infection. Such States would experience extreme difficulty in mounting an effective response were wild poliovirus to be reintroduced. As much international spread occurs across land borders, WHO should continue to facilitate a coordinated regional approach to accelerate interruption of virus transmission in each epidemiologic zone.

States currently exporting wild poliovirus

Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.

States infected with wild poliovirus but not currently exporting

Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and particularly Nigeria, given the international spread from that State historically, pose an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.

Global Public Health Emergency

Based on the Committee’s assessment, the Director General of WHO  on 5 May 2014 declared the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).”

Scanning electron photomicrograph of polio virions

poliovirus - PHIL_2446_lores-small
The poliovirus lives in the human pharynx and intestinal tract. Poliomyelitis is an acute infection that involves the gastrointestinal tract and, occasionally, the central nervous system. It is acquired by fecal-oral transmission. Source: CDC

What’s Polio

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis. Because polio has no cure, vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and the only way to stop the disease from spreading. The spread of polio has never stopped in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Poliovirus has been reintroduced and continues to spread in Syria, Cameroon and the Horn of Africa after the spread of the virus was previously stopped.

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

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9.3 Million Syrians Displaced

Posted by feww on March 15, 2014


Syria: Tens of thousands slaughtered, more than 9 million displaced

On the third anniversary of war of terror waged by Saudi Arabia and Israel against the Syrian people, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said: “three years have passed on this horrible Syrian crisis and that means more displaced people to expect. Today we have around 2.6 million Syrians displaced to neighboring countries and more than 6.5 million Syrians displaced inside Syria.”

Guterres expressed his gratitude to the “generosity of the Lebanese and the government of Lebanon,” for hosting most of the displaced Syrian refugees.

He called on the international community to “show more solidarity with Lebanon and provide financial support and share with it the burden because Lebanon cannot be left alone to confront the big challenges in these hard conditions.”

Meantime, Israeli forces continued shelling the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Return of Polio

In October 2013, an outbreak of polio was reported in Syria, more than a decade after the disease had been eradicated from the country.

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Polio Outbreak in Syria Risks Spreading

Posted by feww on October 29, 2013

10 Cases of polio confirmed in northeast Syria

The crippling disease has broken out among young children in northeast Syria’s Deir al-Zor province, the first outbreak in the country in 14 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Tuesday.

Twenty-two children in Deir al-Zor province, which borders Iraq, became paralyzed last week, and WHO has confirmed that 10 victims tested positive for the wild polio virus.Results on the remaining 12 cases are expected soon.

Most of the victims were under two years old and may not have been vaccinated against polio, WHO said.

It’s believed that foreign mercenaries fighting in Syria have imported the virus into the country. Polio is endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

WHO spokesman Oliver Rosenbauer has said that the source of the virus must be one of the three endemic areas.

The highly contagious virus now threatens to spread in Syria and beyond, as more than 4,000 refugees leave Syria every day.

“Of course this is a communicable disease. With population movements it can travel to other areas. So the risk is high of (its) spread across the region,” Rosenbauer told Reuters.

At least 100,000 Children under the age of five are at risk of polio in Deir al-Zour province, and 500,000 children have not been immunized.

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