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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid