News / Health

Somalia Polio Outbreak Places Ethiopia at Risk

In this May 28, 2013 photo, vaccination workers give an anti-polio drop to a child in Mogadishu, Somalia.
In this May 28, 2013 photo, vaccination workers give an anti-polio drop to a child in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Gabe Joselow
Somalia’s Ministry of Health confirms there are now 94 cases of polio in south-central Somalia and the outbreak is showing no signs of slowing down. New cases of the disease near the border with Ethiopia have also put that country at risk.

The polio outbreak, first identified in May, is spreading throughout Somalia, according to Dr. Yassin Nur, head of immunization at Somalia’s Ministry of Health.

He said another case also has been confirmed in the autonomous region of Somaliland, close to Ethiopia, and could easily be transmitted across the border.

“The risk is there,” Nur said. “Not to mention that Ethiopia is having a very long border and porous border with Somalia and it would be very easy to have the outbreak in Ethiopia.”

Another 10 cases of polio also have been confirmed across the border with Kenya, in the Dadaab refugee camps.

Before the new outbreak, polio had been nearly eradicated across the world, with active cases reported only in three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

But the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said that in May, a two-year-old girl in Somalia was confirmed to have contracted polio, becoming the first case in the country since 2007.

According to Nur, the population of internally displaced people, who number more than one million in Somalia, are most at risk of contracting the virus that causes polio.

The constant movement of people raises the risk of spreading the disease.

“The problem is this movement between Somalia and Kenya, between Somalia and Ethiopia,” Nur said. “Whether they are IDPs or not, the movement of the people is the one that worries us.

Nur is hopeful a vaccination campaign launched in coordination with U.N. agencies, as well as local and international organizations, will be able to “limit and control” the transmission of the disease.

According to the U.N. almost four million people have received a polio vaccination in Somalia since May.

Children are most at risk of contracting the disease, which has no cure and can paralyze those who are infected.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 01, 2013 2:14 AM
And to think that this could've all been avoided had Siad Barre never come to power in Somalia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs