Turkey launches polio vaccination at Syria border

November 18, 2013

Turkey on Monday announced a mass vaccination campaign against an outbreak of polio in areas near neighbouring Syria.

"We are planning to vaccinate about one million children under five years old," public health agency vice president Mehmet Ali Torunoglu told private NTV television.

The United Nations said this month that emergency plans were under way to vaccinate more than 20 million children in the Middle East including Turkey, in the region's largest-ever polio campaign.

Its initiative was announced after the World Health Organisation reported that had reemerged in war-torn Syria for the first time in 14 years, leaving 10 children paralysed.

Polio was eradicated in Turkey 15 years ago but the country, which is home to more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, could be at risk from the outbreak of the disease in its neighbour.

Vaccinations began on Monday in Gaziantep province and will also be carried out in six other provinces on or near the border that shelter Syrian refugees.

Polio is caused by a highly infectious virus that invades the nervous system through the mouth and can cause irreversible paralysis within a matter of hours.

Children under the age of five are those most at risk.

There is no cure, but there are highly effective vaccines to prevent the disease.

Explore further: UN confirms 10 polio cases in northeast Syria

Related Stories

UN confirms 10 polio cases in northeast Syria

October 29, 2013

The U.N.'s health agency said Tuesday it has confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the diseases in the country in 14 years, with a risk of spreading across the region.

Experts warn that Syria polio outbreak may threaten Europe

November 7, 2013

Two infectious disease experts have written to The Lancet warning that a new outbreak of polio (due to infection with wild-type polio virus 1, WPV1) in Syria, recently confirmed by WHO, might endanger neighbouring regions, ...

UN launches polio vaccination campaign in Mideast

November 9, 2013

The United Nations says a massive campaign to vaccinate children in the Middle East against polio has begun after the first cases in 14 years were confirmed in northeastern Syria last week.

Polio cases in Pakistan pass 2012 total

November 13, 2013

Polio is on the rise in Pakistan, health officials said Wednesday, as the number of infections in 2013 passed the total for the whole of 2012.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.