News / Asia

WHO Investigates Polio Outbreak in Tajikistan

Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization says it is sending technical experts to Tajikistan to investigate an outbreak of seven cases of polio in the country.  It says this is the first importation of polio in the European region since Europe was certified as polio-free in 2002.

Three technical experts from WHO already have left for Tajikistan.  And, the organization says three more experts are expected to arrive in that central Asian country on Sunday.

WHO Spokeswoman for the Polio Eradication Initiative, Sona Bari, agrees this is a setback for WHO's polio eradication campaign.  She says it is a sober reminder of the need to vaccinate children against this crippling disease.

She says the technical experts will carry out a detailed investigation of the seven cases of polio to determine the country from where the virus was imported and what actions need to be taken to prevent its further spread.

"Planning is already going on for three large-scale vaccination campaigns," Bari said.  "There are about 864,000 children under the age of five that we will reach with this vaccine.  And, surrounding countries, particularly Uzbekistan and Kyrgyztan are being asked to step up their surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis, which is a sign of polio and to look into their immunization rates to make sure that children are adequately protected in those surrounding areas."  

Bari says these immunization campaigns are expensive.  She says Rotary International has given $500,000.  But, additional funding will be needed to buy the vaccines and carry out the campaigns.

She says the polio crisis comes at a time when WHO and other U.N. agencies are struggling to contain a big outbreak in Africa.

"We had a first round to deal with this, this year on the sixth of March, a second smaller round on the 26th of March.  And, now, they are starting this Saturday, about 78 million children across central and west Africa to shut down that outbreak," Bari said.  "Again, emphasizing the importance of stopping polio in the few remaining endemic countries, so that it cannot be imported out to areas where children are not adequately immunized." 

WHO Investigates Polio Outbreak in Tajikistan
WHO Investigates Polio Outbreak in Tajikistan

Bari says Tajikistan is close to two polio endemic countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan.  But, she says it is premature to identify one of these countries as the source of the virus.  She says until the genetic sequencing of the virus is completed, it will not be possible to know from where the importation came.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs