WHO Sounds Global Health Warning on Spread of Polio


A mother looks on as an Afghan health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign in Ghazni on May 5, 2014. A new three-day nationwide immunisation campaign against polio supported by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health has begun country wide, officials said. AFP PHOTO/Rahmatullah ALIZADA

Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007.

Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon have recently allowed the virus to spread — to Afghanistan, Iraq and Equatorial Guinea, respectively — and should take extraordinary measures to stop it, the health organization said.

The declaration, which effectively imposes travel restrictions on the three countries, represented a newly aggressive stance by the health organization.

It also said another seven countries should “encourage” all their would-be travelers to get vaccinated. Those are Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Somalia.  Israel has had no confirmed human cases of the disease, but a Pakistan strain of the virus has been detected in sewage in Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

While the W.H.O. has no enforcement power, the regulations are part of a 2007 global health treaty saying all parties “should ensure” that steps it recommends are taken. That applies to Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon. The other seven only need to “encourage” those steps. But countries could use the document to refuse to admit migrants, visitors or even business travelers who lack vaccination cards.

CCTV’s Nigeria Correspondent Deji Badmus how does the government struggle to end the the polio virus.

Nigeria is Struggling to End Polio

Africa's most populous country, Nigeria, has a lot of serious security concerns. While the government is battling to contain the Boko Haram insurgency in the north of the country, it is also struggling to end an old battle against an entrenched enemy of all the polio virus. Our Nigeria Correspondent, Deji Badmus tells us more.

Meanwhile, in India, It is three years since India last reported a case of polio.

In 2009, India reported 741 polio cases, more than any other country in the world, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The last case was reported from the eastern state of West Bengal in 2011, when an 18-month-old girl was found to have contracted the disease.


However, those who are living with the after-effects of polio are still struggling in India.

Ongoing Struggle in India Despite Being Polio-free

India is now polio-free with the last reported case more than three years ago. A remarkable feat-- that is two decades in the making.

Dr William Schaffner to give us his assessment, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joined CCTV’s discussion on this topic.

Interview with William Shaffner on Polio

Dr William Schaffner to give us his assessment, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joined CCTV's discussion on Polio.



Polio in the regions