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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Polio outbreak strikes Syria

Pro-government soldier in Syria
The World Health Organization [WHO] confirmed yesterday that an outbreak of polio has risen in Syria. 22 cases have been identified in the eastern part of the nation, with an additional 12 instances still being researched.

The neighboring country of Lebanon is working with various WHO agencies to vaccinate Syrian refugees whom have escaped the war-ravaged nation. They fear that, if not contained, it could escalate into a full-blown pandemic, afflicting millions of children across the Middle East.

Polio is a highly contagious virus which attacks the central nervous system, one which is especially dangerous to children. Paralysis can occur within a few hours of infection, and in the most dire cases death is possible.

While there is currently no cure available, vaccination efforts have been successful in dramatically curtailing its spread. Extremist elements in Islam, however, have made continuing those efforts in many Middle Eastern nations difficult at best, and in the most violent regions nearly impossible.

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